Inspirational Voices from the Fighting Blindness Community

Being diagnosed with anything can be hard, and you certainly will go through a range of emotions. You are not alone. Many have been in your shoes and have dealt with their diagnosis in different ways. Some feel a sense of relief when they can share their stories with others who are going through a similar situation.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is a beacon for those affected by blinding retinal diseases. With our Beacon Stories, we share individual’s journeys with their disease and how their drive fuels them to pursue their passions. Not only do we find their stories aspirational, we believe these individuals are true beacons of strength, champions of courage, and advocates for hope. We hope these stories provide you with light that will get you through the darkness. Collectively, we are stronger together – as a community.

Do you have a story you'd like to share with the Fighting Blindness community? Let us know at

Beacon Stories

  • Mar 27, 2023

    Evolving With Eyesight and Life

    Gavin was diagnosed with Stargardt disease at the age of 19. In his own words, Gavin shares his experience over the last 13 years adjusting to the unpredictability of his vision loss and how being a new parent has shifted his mindset.

    Beacon Stories
  • Mar 22, 2023

    Blindness Community Commemorates Judy Heumann

    Judy Heumann worked tirelessly for decades to improve the quality of life, access, and inclusion for all people with disabilities across the globe.

    Beacon Stories
  • Mar 13, 2023

    Blind Paralympian Reaching New Heights

    Isaac Jean-Paul was diagnosed with X-linked juvenile retinoschisis (XLRS) at the age of two. Isaac was always set on being a professional athlete, and now he’s a Paralympian, winning bronze in the long jump in the 2020 Games and breaking the high jump world record three times.

    Beacon Stories
  • Feb 27, 2023

    Rewriting the Narrative as the First Black Deaf-Blind Journalist

    Steven McCoy has made history as the first black deaf-blind journalist in the world, as he was recently diagnosed with Usher syndrome after a lifelong struggle with hearing loss. Equipped with a passion for storytelling and advocacy, he now uses his voice to create lasting change within the entertainment industry and deaf-blind community.

    Beacon Stories
  • Feb 14, 2023

    A Love Without Limits: How John and Min Conquer Blindness Together

    In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Foundation Fighting Blindness brings you a special edition of our Beacon Story series, which covers the unique journey of visually impaired couple John and Min.

    Beacon Stories
  • Jan 23, 2023

    Birding Blind: Identifying Birds by Song

    Martha Steele has been birding for over 30 years, but the way in which she birds has changed over time. Martha has Usher syndrome, with her central vision declining rapidly in the early 2000s and receiving her first cochlear implant in 2010. Now she birds entirely by ear and has learned the songs of about 150 bird species.

    Beacon Stories
  • Jan 9, 2023

    Retinal Research Community Loses Beloved Pioneer Sam Jacobson

    His many contributions included pivotal work that led to LUXTURNA

    Beacon Stories
  • Jan 9, 2023

    Fearless Sister Duo Finding Hope

    April LuFriu and Melissa Escobio are sisters and best friends who do just about everything together, including having retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

    Beacon Stories
  • Dec 12, 2022

    Resourceful Advocate for Research

    Manorthia was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) when she was 22 years old but didn’t start experiencing considerable vision loss until years later. Once she began to notice her vision deteriorating more rapidly, she reached out to the Foundation Fighting Blindness to get involved with the blindness community.

    Beacon Stories
  • Nov 14, 2022

    Chloe’s Creative Journey with Vision Loss

    Chloé Duplessis is a legally blind digital collage artist in Denver, Colorado. At 39 years old, Chloé was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, which was a pivotal point in her creative journey to becoming a full-time artist and owner of Duplessis Art.

    Beacon Stories