Posted on 33 Comments

WOTM 27 Featuring Kimberly White

Introducing the Fabulous Kimberly White

Photo of Kimberly holding her bejeweled White caneMy name is Kimberly White, I am both honored and humbled to participate in raising awareness and helping to change society’s perception of blindness.

I am happily married, living in Portland, OR; my son is a junior at Santa Clara University, majoring in Physics; he too has RP.

I was born, an only child, in Cincinnati and grew up in a NW suburb of Chicago – Schaumburg, Illinois. Following college (The Chicago Art Institute of Design), I moved to San Diego where I embraced successful careers at Nordstrom & Nike. After having our son, I started my own interior design company and now, upon losing my sight, I am a community volunteer and Creator!

RP Simulation Glasses created to help raise awareness
Glasses created to help raise awareness

The greatest job title I’ve EVER held is “MOM” – after my one & only son was born 21 yrs ago, I was diagnosed with a genetic hereditary eye disease: retinitis pigmentosa (RP) – it rendered me night blind, which I had always been but was never aware of because you “don’t know what you don’t know”,  I never saw at night [as I told the Dr., I thought that’s why it was called night – believing that no one saw in  darkness]; I was notorious for sitting on total stranger’s laps in movie theaters and consistently falling off of curbs or tripping over chairs/tables. My overall visual perception can be explained as tunnel vision [close one eye and hold an empty paper towel roll over the open eye – that demonstrates what I see], in addition with RP, we struggle with the early onset of cataracts [smear Vaseline on your glasses for an understanding] and CME, which is inflammation [cysts] of the retina [much like opening your eyes underwater and what you would see].

I drove during the daylight hours not at night. But as my vision has deteriorated, four years ago I was forced to relinquish my drivers license and acclimate to a white cane. This new journey forced me to adapt to many changes in my life; one was giving up my design business and depending on others for ALL transportation needs!

Before and after photo of zebra print hand painted furniture and cork earrings designed with bling
Left to Right | 1) Hand painted furniture. 2) & 3) Cork earrings designed with bling

I am legally blind but I wake up every day with a desire to educate, motivate, &/or inspire, hopefully, one person. I love the beach, walking, socializing, crafting, celebrations and new adventures!

The adversity in life  has given me strength, I possess enormous passion to create a better community & world. My story is one of loss, depression, and isolation – turned hope, support & community. HOPE is something that everyone needs to hear at some point in life.

Collage of Kimberly at the beach (Oregon coast) mugging for the camera. 2) Kimberly & her husband at Cannon Beach, OR and Cork tops created - Kimbely & Sheila Blakeslee [owner of Blakeslee Vineyard]
Left to Right | 1) Oregon coast – Kimberly at the beach mugging for the camera. 2) Kimberly & her husband at Cannon Beach, OR 3) Cork tops created – Kimbely & Sheila Blakeslee [owner of Blakeslee Vineyard]
Throughout my own experience, using a cane, I have been on the receiving end of lack of understanding, support, bullying and inequity. Society has done a terrible job of educating and promoting visual impairment. Many people believe that being blind means the absence of ALL vision, which clearly is not the case. I wear makeup, I have “sassy” hair – by choice, I am a wife, a mother, I have friends and an active social life — I am alive, full of life and unstoppable! I plan, organize & execute events & fundraisers. I create unique items made with corks [living near the wine country in Oregon, it was a natural]: picture frames, wine bottle covers, earrings & apparel. I hand paint furniture and create cards and decor that sparkle! I recently completed my first Acting class and LOVED the experience!

Kimberly with her Acting class!
Kimberly with her Acting class!

Even though I have lost most of my vision, I possess a love [and sincere appreciation for life] … we all have “stuff”, adversity that others aren’t necessarily aware of, but the importance is educating others, in an effort to raise awareness in hopes of bringing kindness and acceptance to those suffering!

I hope & pray through science and medical research and advancements, that one day there will be a cure for RP. But until then, I maintain a commitment to helping others understand visual impairment!

“The eyes are useless when the mind is blind!”

33 thoughts on “WOTM 27 Featuring Kimberly White

  1. An amazing lady with an amazing story. Thanks Stephanae for sharing this. Have a wonderful day! 🙂

    1. Thank you for coming by and reading Kimberly’s story. I’m glad you enjoyed it!! Have a good one 😀

      1. 🙂

  2. That’s another very inspirational story. Kimberly seems to have a very busy life. 🙂

    1. Yes she does but she seems so energetic that I’m sure it suits her very well. Thank you Bun!!

  3. Your weak eyes see more beauty in the world than most people with two healthy eyes. You inspire us to see consciously the world around us. Thanks for this post. 🙂

    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I will pass this along to Kimberly. 😀

  4. An inspiration!

    1. Thank you Robyn!!

  5. I’m struck by how uplifting this post is. You and your guests are such inspirations! By the way, Kimberly’s descriptions of the different conditions associated with RP and what these “look like” are really helpful for people not familiar with vision loss.

    1. Hi Caroline, it does my heart good to meet people like Kimberly who freely share their experiences to benefit everyone.

  6. Beautiful story!

    1. Thank you for coming by and reading it. 😀

  7. Thank you for your insightful (pun intended 😉) idea to present Kimberly and her story Steph.
    Kimberly: your story is an eye-opener (honestly – don’t know how these words are popping into my head) and you explain and give great examples of what RP is like from your perspective. It helps us to understand what you had to and continue to go through. Your positive and hopeful attitude is inspirational – needless to say, I admire both you and Steph.

    1. Thank you Wendy. I’m going to send all these comments to Kimberly. <3

  8. Steph,
    Kimberly is my kind of woman! She certainly gets around and is very much involved in teaching about low vision and blindness. It’s surprising how many people don’t know what a white cane means.

    Sherri Rodgers

  9. Very uplifting, positive post.

    1. Hi Jacqueline, thank you for your kind comment.

  10. Thank you Kim for sharing your beautiful story. You are truly an inspiration to so many people. You are so kind and considerate. You encourage all of us to do better. I look for your quotes on FB everyday. I love you very much. You and Zack are always in my thoughts and prayers everyday. You are so full of life and so very talented. You are so humble and down to earth. I am so grateful and glad that our paths have crossed and we are friends. We need more Kimberly on this planet. God bless you sweet lady with all the happiness you truly truly deserve.

  11. Steph, thank you for sharing Kimberly’s outlook on life working with the sight challenges she takes on daily. As we’ve discussed before it is bringing these real-life stories and living, breathing examples to the masses that helps create overall awareness for all but even more importantly inspires those in similar circumstances. It is also hoped a behavior pattern becomes second-nature within all folks to be sensitive to these challenges and provide an extra bit of motivation, transportation, etc. when the opportunity presents itself for those of us lucky enough to have full vision to lend a helping, loving hand to a vision-impared individual who could use one.

    1. Hey Bruce, sorry I didn’t reply to your comment yesterday, it was an oversight. As always I appreciate your deeply insightful remarks. It’s my hope that these stories will be the vehicles to change.

  12. Reblogged this on On Becoming a Lemonade Maker and commented:
    Need a little eye opener for what blindness is? Would you like to meet a sassy and creative lady who doesn’t let RP get her down? Here’s one inspiring person!

  13. Thank you for sharing Kimblerly’s story, Stephanae!
    Yes, you truly do represent Women on the Move well, Kimberly! You continue to accomplish so much! <3 I love the picture of you with the rock in the background (mugging for the camera!)/
    Amy

    1. Thank you for connecting us Amy. I met Kimberly through the Abigail icon on Facebook and after learning a little about her I contacted her immediately to request her story. She gives so much encouragement.

  14. That was a great post, Stephanae. Thanks for introducing us to yet another wonderful, inspiring friend!

    1. Why thank you Laurel!! From the moment I met Kimberly (on Facebook through Amy Bovaird) I knew I had to get her to do her story. She’s an amazing lady.

      1. She sure sounds like it! Another mighty warrior!!!

      2. Yup!! They’re coming out of the woodwork and they are my heroes.

      3. And, you’re one of mine!

  15. You are truly an inspiration! What a wonderful post!

    1. Thank you so much!

      1. YAY Kimberly, you’re going to get your message out far and wide. Love ya!!

      2. You’re most welcome!

Comments Are Always Welcome

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.