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Anthony Ferraro | February 2022 Men In Motion

A photo of Anthony, his wife Kelly, and their dog Delta who's sitting between them on their laps. Anthony has long wavy dark hair, beard and mustache. He's wearing a tiedyed long sleeved shirt and a red, white, and blue beanie. Kelly has long straight light brown hair and is smiling broadly with her arms encircling her hubby. She is wearing a black long sleeved top.

Anthony Ferraro | February 2022 Men In Motion

Contents

If you get one thing, it’s being comfortable with yourself and who you are and starting to accept yourself and really use the tools that are out there for you. Like the cane, once I accepted that my life just opened a whole new world for me.

~Anthony Ferraro

Editor’s Note

“One Love” is Anthony Ferraro’s signature sign-off on all his Instagram videos. By the way, if you haven’t seen any of Anthony’s videos you’ll want to do that asap. It’s hard for me to believe that Anthony and his wife Kelly only began sharing content on Instagram a year ago.

As an influencer who has amassed quite a following Anthony is almost always up to some shenanigans. But through it all, he will change how you perceive blindness. In today’s Men In Motion feature, Anthony talks about what it was like growing up blind and wanting to fit in. He discusses the overwhelming anxiety he felt from being different and how he’s now able to walk in confidence.

Included in this post is Anthony’s YouTube video with the transcription below for those who prefer to read. Enjoy! ~Steph

Beyond Sight Magazine Cover

A photo of Anthony, his wife Kelly, and their dog Delta who's sitting between them on their laps. Anthony has long wavy dark hair, a beard, and a mustache. He's wearing a tie-dyed long-sleeved shirt and a red, white, and blue beanie. Kelly has long straight light brown hair and is smiling broadly with her arms encircling her hubby. She is wearing a black long-sleeved top. Text on the cover reads "Beyond Sight February 2022 | Men In Motion | Anthony Ferraro."

YouTube Video

Born Blind

Anthony is standing next to an elongated wood carving that says "One Love." He's wearing a Jamaican beanie with a light blue/green sweater and a gray puff vest. He's making the peace sign with his left hand pointing towards the carving.
One Love

What’s up, my name is Anthony Ferraro, I’m 26 years old, I’m from Spring Lake, New Jersey. I’m a professional athlete, a motivational speaker, a musician, and I was also born blind.

I was born with Leber’s congenital amaurosis, which is LCA for short, it’s a degenerative eye condition. It has to do with the retina and a lot more scientific stuff that I don’t really understand.

But basically, when I was born, I had a little bit better sight, like, not good sight at all, but I remember seeing people and things like that. And like, it was always blurred out and stuff, but I was able to see figures and different stuff like that way more clearer. Now I just have light perception and, can see, you know, shadows of things in the perfect daylight, like in natural lighting.

Hello Delta, this is my dog Delta. And so I’m the youngest of five. And I grew up in this small beach town, where I grew up skateboarding, surfing, riding bikes, until I started hitting parked cars. And then my mom told me, you know, it’s time to get off the bike. And like, then I learned about tandem bicycles and like, learned about like, all, you know, ways I can learn to do things and still be somewhat safe and still live my life and like, push past these obstacles I ran into.

An action shot of Anthony skateboarding on what appears to be a ledge. He's in a squatting position wearing a helmet, shorts and tee shirt.
Skateboarding

Acquiring Tools For Success In School

So I started by going to a school in Philadelphia. So, my parents, the main mission was, it was to find me a good education, so to learn braille, and to be able to, you know, learn assistive technology, and just all the things that are accessible out there. So I can mainstream into the real world like sighted world when I go to school and everything after that.

So I went to a school in Philadelphia called St. Lucy Day School for the Blind and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Because at first, I stayed in an apartment with my mom until like second grade. We’d have to go to Philly and stay there during the week so I’d be able to go to school. And then I got transportation from Jersey to Philly every day after that.

And St. Lucy’s taught me all, they gave me all the tools, I needed to be able to go to school in the sighted world and just like, you know, integrate into everything with confidence. And it was great like St. Lucy’s was awesome because it was other blind people I was around and it was just normal, like, blindness wasn’t even a thing. You know, it didn’t bother me that I was blind, really.

On Being Different

And then I had to transfer to, I finally got to transfer to the public school in the town I grew up in. And it was really weird for me because I was the only blind person. And I remember feeling super anxious and like, just overwhelmed kind of just wanting to fit in and be a normal kid. But not just not, um, you know, not being like everyone else. Like I was blind, I’m blind. So that was really hard for me to accept, like, I would try to hide my blindness so much, you know, I wouldn’t use my cane. And I clearly needed it.

I would walk around really slow, hunched over and try and see things you know, and just took me a lot of time, and I was constantly feeling this anxiety. So at the same time, I found wrestling, which my older brother Oliver is a great wrestler, and I started doing that.

And I was once again the only blind person and the adaptation that was made was I had to stay in constant contact. So like, if we broke apart, I wouldn’t know where the opponent was. So the referee blew the whistle and we go back to the center.

So I fell in love with that and kind of put all my frustration into wrestling as well. And at the time, like at first I was really bad I went you know, I was awful in seventh grade when I started and then I started going to a club and doing all the extra work I needed to do and put in all these extra hours and finally started doing well. And when in

Sorry, I lost my spot real quick firstly, so after. So I put all my frustration into wrestling. And I would always be labeled as like the blind wrestler, all these things in all these articles and like that would really bother me. Because once again like I was just trying to fit in and be like everyone else.

How Acceptance Helps Others

Anthony is standing in the middle of a pasture holding his guitar with his right hand and the peace sign with his left. He's wearing a brown jacket, black pants, and black boots.
Guitar

But then I started getting these messages from people saying like, you know, it’s so inspirational and seeing what you do every day not making excuses. Just pushing through and doing all this stuff. And It really hit me kind of like, you know, I’d be selfish to not accept my blindness and start to be comfortable with it because I could help so many other people.

And I think around that time I started to, you know, use my cane a little more just accept the fact that I was blind and identify that I was blind. And it really gave me a sense of freedom and independence.

And then, you know, my high school career, my older brother and his friend Chris Suchorsky, they made a whole feature-length documentary about my wrestling career, being blind and pushing past obstacles, called A Shot In the Dark. And when that was released, the Olympic Committee saw this the United States Olympic Committee, and reached out and asked I would consider training judo, for the Paralympics and for Tokyo, and that’s, I jumped on that opportunity. I was like, This is once in a lifetime.

Headed To Paris 2024 Paralympics

A still image of an action shot of Anthony during a Judo competition. His opponent is on the floor and Anthony is atop his opponent's foot.
Judo

And I immediately, you know, started doing that. And this is about five years ago, I got hurt right before the Tokyo Game, so I wasn’t able to qualify and go, I was really close. But after that, I’m now training for the 2024 games for Paris.

And I’m also a musician I play guitar and create a bunch of content with my wife, Kelly, she’s amazing. And we do all this, like videos and trying to inspire others and you know, help as many people as we can. There’s stuff like I do skateboarding, judo, and surfing and just a bunch of music and speak to a bunch of groups and events and just try and like I said, help as many people as I can. But at the end of the day, if I help one person, it’s the success in my life.

So thanks so much for listening to my journey of sight loss and I hope it helps. And you know, if you get one thing, it’s being comfortable with yourself and who you are and starting to accept yourself and really use the tools that are out there for you. Like the cane, once I accepted that my life just opened a whole new world for me. So one love and have a great one.

Connecting With Anthony

Image Descriptions

  • Header, Beyond Sight Magazine Cover, and YouTube thumbnail contain the same photo of Anthony, his wife Kelly, and their dog Delta who’s sitting between them on their laps. Anthony has long wavy dark hair, a beard, and a mustache. He’s wearing a tie-dyed long-sleeved shirt and a red, white, and blue beanie. Kelly has long straight light brown hair and is smiling broadly with her arms encircling her hubby. She is wearing a black long-sleeved top. Text on the cover reads “Beyond Sight February 2022 | Men In Motion | Anthony Ferraro.”
  • YouTube Video Description: Anthony is sitting on a comfy sofa with accent pillows, casually dressed in gray sweats with a black sweatshirt. A plant is on a stand to his left and his dog Delta is on the floor at his feet.
  • One Love: Anthony is standing next to an elongated wood carving that says “One Love.” He’s wearing a Jamaican beanie with a light blue/green sweater and a gray puff vest. He’s making the peace sign with his left hand pointing towards the carving.
  • Skateboarding: An action shot of Anthony skateboarding on what appears to be a ledge. He’s in a squatting position wearing a helmet, shorts and tee shirt.
  • Guitar: Anthony is standing in the middle of a pasture holding his guitar with his right hand and the peace sign with his left. He’s wearing a brown jacket, black pants, and black boots.
  • Judo: A still image of an action shot of Anthony (his hair in braids) during a Judo competition. His opponent is on the floor and Anthony is atop his opponent’s foot.

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