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VIP in Action

VIP in Action list is an initiative to capture the struggles and success of Visually Impaired People or VIP as we like to refer, who have managed to achieve respective goals in their individual professions. 
This page includes stories and information about VIP from different parts of the world, excelling in their professional field by answering three simple questions. If you wish to share your journey, please do write to us by pressing the contact us button at the end of the page. 

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Meet our VIP in Action

Marie Elise Aarts
Jul 23, 2021
Tutor and travel-writer-to-be
Marie works as a study coach and spends a lot of her time traveling. In the future, she wishes to write about all of her travel experiences. For now, she has created a successful Instagram account where she documents her journey all over our 'non-visual' planet.
"Self-acceptance is everything."
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Emily Davison
Jul 21, 2021
Writer, journalist, YouTuber, and blogger
Emily's blog 'Fashioneyesta' was started in 2012 to challenge people's perceptions of sight loss through her love of fashion, beauty, and style. Besides her blog, she has also worked with many organisations on journalistic pieces, campaigns, and disability advocacy.
"Your disability doesn't have to limit your opportunities."
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Justin Bishop
Jun 18, 2021
Skateboarder
Justin has been skateboarding since the age of 8. After losing most of his eyesight at the age of 25 he quit his hobby, as it was hard to see no progression. However, a few years later Justin returned to skateboarding and realised how much he loves being on the board.
"Do what you love and success will follow."
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Duncan Meerding
Jun 16, 2021
Lighting and furniture designer/maker
Duncan has always had an interest in making things. He is now a successful furniture designer and creates unique designs that draw heavily from the vast natural beauty of the Tasmanian wilderness and feature organic curving lines inspired by the local landscape.
"Be prepared to self-advocate and keep the social model in mind when things are feeling to be a challenge."
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Hazal Baybasin
Apr 30, 2021
Job title: Entrepreneur, founder of Blind Beauty
In 2019 Hazal was diagnosed with a rare brain condition that left her blind. This is how she discovered the lack of accessibility in the beauty industry and how Blind Beauty was born. The brand is focused on smell and textures and includes braille with all products.
"Yes, we may see differently and yes we may have to do things differently but we can be as successful as anyone else."
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Dave Steele
Apr 26, 2021
Job title: Poet, author, public speaker, and advocate for the blind community
Dave's career started from altering lyrics to existing songs that later evolved into writing poetry. He has now written over 700 poems and songs dealing with fears and struggles associated with sight loss to help diminish misconceptions associated with blindness.
"Dealing with anxiety and times of darkness are perfectly natural, but we can take our biggest challenges in life and turn them into our greatest achievements".
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Erik Weihenmayer
Apr 20, 2021
Job title: Athlete, adventurer, author, speaker
On May 25, 2001, Erik became the first blind person to reach the summit of Everest Mountain. He is also a co-founder of the No Barriers movement, whose mission is to help people face barriers head-on and team up with people to live rich in meaning and purpose.
"You fail, you bleed, you iterate and you take all that iteration in those systems, strategies, and that team."
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Sam Seavey
Mar 23, 2021
Job title: Youtuber, assistive technology program coordinator
Sam has been legally blind since the age of 11 but it wasn’t until his 30s that he was able to fully embrace himself and his visual impairment. In 2013 Sam created his YouTube channel called the Blind Life where he shares his experiences living with sight loss.
"If there is something that you are really passionate and excited about, I guarantee there is a way for you to do it."
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Joe Kenny
Mar 16, 2021
Job title: Musician
Joe lost his sight when he was 5 years old and started playing music at around the same age. He has over 20 years of experience performing live in venues all around the UK. Joe never stops creating music and performing it during his #JoeShow live streams.
"You have to experience life for yourself and not rely on others to tell you what you should do."
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Gary Albertson
Mar 11, 2021
Job title: Photographer
Gary's career started in corporate graphic design. After slowly losing eyesight in the 2010s, he learnt to adapt to his limited sight and use it to refine his photographic art. He is looking to the future for new ways to enhance his independent spirit.
"Don't let your loss pull you, you must pull it along toward the ball, a passion you must keep your energy connected to"
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Joey Stuckey
Feb 8, 2021
Job title: Musican
Joey is an award-winning blind guitarist, songwriter, singer, and much more. He has released several albums, teaches guitar and sound mixing and is part of a “The Joey Stuckey Band”. Joey is also the official music ambassador for his home town of Macon Georgia.
"Believe in yourself and love yourself and work hard and there is nothing you can't accomplish!"
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Ian Treherne
Jan 18, 2021
Job title: Photographer
Ian became aware of the mechanics of photography as a child, but it is only as an adult that he was able to use his passion for photography and art to sculpt his life. Ian uses photography as compensation for his lack of sight to capture the beauty of the world.
"Accept the defeats and the mistakes, use, and learn from them, evolution comes from solutions."
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Amar Latif
Nov 30, 2020
Job title: Entrepreneur
Amar a British entrepreneur, motivational speaker, world traveler, and TV presenter. He has featured on a number of TV program’s including BBC Two documentary Beyond Boundaries as well as directing Channel 4 documentary Sightseeing Blind.
"Respect the people around you – your parents and your friends – but remember that the final call should rest with you."
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Chris McCausland
Nov 19, 2020
Job title: Comedian
Chris is a blind stand-up comedian. Despite graduating from university with a degree in Soft Engineering, he decided to pursue stand-up comedy instead. He is now not only a successful comedian but also a husband and father.
"So stick your steel toe caps on and good luck with whatever crazy dream you decide to follow."
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Silvia Quan
Nov 13, 2020
Job title: Activist
Silvia is a Guatemalan gender equality and disability rights activist. Staring as a human rights expert in the early 2000s, she has achieved big success, working for the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities since 2011.
"We all must love ourselves deeply as a first step to be able to love others, regardless of their diversity."
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Paul Castle
Nov 10, 2020
Job title: Artist and illustrator
Paul is an artist from Washington. He was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa when he was 16 years old and has lost approximately 85% of his vision. Nevertheless, it doesn't stop him from creating beautiful illustrations that put a smile on your face.
"Don't be focused on perfection, or wait for the "right moment" to come along."
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Catherine Harrison
Nov 5, 2020
Job title: Model
After losing sight Catherine decided to become a role model for her three sons, showing that everything is possible if you work hard enough. Apart from being a model, she is now a public speaker, article writer, and much more.
"Equip yourself to compensate for your visual impairment, then work to be the best at it."
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Vicky Rehbein
Oct 12, 2020
Job title: Civil servant and photographer
Vicky is a civil servant from West Dorset who also found her passion for photography. Despite being born with visual impairment, she has never let it stand in her way and is always open to new experiences.
"If you want to have a go, go for it!"
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Sarah Goddard
Oct 11, 2020
Job title: Mixed-media artist
Sarah is a mixed-media artist from the UK. Based in Cheltenham, she is a part of the Junction 12 Art Group, a collective of local artists, with whom she collaborates to exhibit work. Sarah creates a range of artworks, including nature-inspired abstract paintings.
"We can use ingenuity to achieve success."
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Cyndi del Río
Oct 9, 2020
Job title: Pianist and singer
Cyndi is a singer and musician from Mexico. She also considers herself an activist as she shares her life as a blind person on social media. She is now taking on TikTok and proves that visual impairment doesn't stop her from being a successful musician.
"We can work to make our dreams come true."
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Caroline Casey
Oct 8, 2020
Job title: Entrepreneur and founder of Valuable 500
Caroline is an Irish social entrepreneur and disability activist. She is also the founder of Valuable 500, the global movement that works on getting 500 of the world's largest businesses to commit to placing disability inclusion on their business leadership agendas.
"Listen to your gut instinct and follow it relentlessly, even through pain and disappointment"
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Tom Forsyth
Oct 6, 2020
Job title: Businessman, entrepreneur and creator of Ramble Tag
Tom is an entrepreneur from the UK. He, along with his business partner Laura, are the creators of Ramble Tag, an invention that helps visually impaired people move more freely and independently when walking with a guide person.
"Go for it, listen to advice, and act on it."
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Marcelo Lusardi
Sep 26, 2020
Job title: Skateboarder and musician
Marcelo is a skateboarder from Argentina currently living in Spain. He started skating at the age of 11 and had to teach himself skating again after getting blind. He is now one of the most famous blind skateboarders in the world.
"Don't be shy to cry if you want to cry."
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Nicola Naylor
Sep 19, 2020
Job title: Rider, author and journalist
Nicola is a British international blind para dressage rider. After going completely blind she thought she would never ride again, but got back on horse for her daughter and is now competing in dressage.
"Success is not about what you can and can't do, it is about finding and feeling what you can enjoy."
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Holly Tuke
Sep 11, 2020
Job title: Assistive technology advisor, blogger and freelance writer
Holly is legally blind and can only see light and dark. Despite that, Holly is busy working as an assistive technology advisor, freelance writer, and blogger and claims that her visual impairment shaped her into a woman she is today.
"We all face hurdles and obstacles, but you will get through them.“
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Jeff Hanson
Sep 6, 2020
Job title: Self-taught artist and businessman
Jeffrey is a blind award-winning artist. Starting as a self-taught artist at the age of 12, he now successfully sells his works as gifts as well as for charity events. So far, Jeffrey has raised more than 5 million dollars for charity and doesn't intend to stop.
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love.”
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Steph Malfatti
Sep 2, 2020
Job title: Yoga and Pilates instructor
Steph a former cheerleader, has now found her passion as a yoga and pilates instructor. Originally from the US, now she lives in London, UK, and helps other people change their physical and mental states for the better.
“There is no such thing as impossible.”
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Clarke Reynolds
Aug 28, 2020
Job title: Braille artist
Clarke is registered blind and also a visual artist, who lives in Portsmouth, England. Losing sight didn't stop him from getting a higher education and continuing to do art. Clarke is currently making art from the Braille alphabet and strives to become a "Braille artist".
“Follow your dreams.”
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Pete Eckert
Aug 20, 2020
Job title: Light painting photographer
Pete is an award-winning blind photographer. After losing sight Pete had to give up working in construction, but it is also how he got into photography. His groundbreaking work includes VW, Playboy, Swarovski, and NCIS.
“It is the best time in history to be a blind person.”
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John Furniss
Aug 18, 2020
Job title: Woodworker
John from Washougal, USA became blind at the age of 16. Nevertheless, it didn't stop him from taking lessons in woodworking and open his own woodshop. He is now a successful woodworker, who spreads awareness about the visually impaired.
“You are totally unique.”
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