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Reflecting Back Can Help Forge The Path Ahead

Golden hour glass. sitting atop sand with a with background. The sand is filtering through.

Back Down Memory Lane

Reflecting back really helps to put life in perspective. Like many people in my age group, my memory is fading and I struggle daily. Because Alzheimer’s runs in my family, it’s important to me to get as much done as possible. Looking back helps me to see how far I’ve come and confirms the path I’ve chosen.

The following lightly edited article was originally published to VisionAware a few years back when I became a Peer Advisor. If memory serves it was probably around the time I began Bold Blind Beauty. While many things have changed since this article was published, overall I’m pleased with the progress to date.

Stephanae (Steph) McCoy

A Look Back Selfie description is in the body of the post

Eight years ago, going blind was not on Stephanae (Steph) McCoy’s bucket list. Since life threw her this curveball, however, how was she to continue her plan to change the world? Life produced the formula: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) + Life-Altering Event = World Changed!

Steph, always a little quirky, began with picky eating and excessive hand washing. Her behaviors progressed to extreme cleaning and a driven purposefulness that would make the TV character, Monk, weep. After losing most of her eyesight, Steph credits OCD for making the situation bearable thanks to many regimented routines. After developing macular holes, cataractsglaucoma, and becoming legally blind, Steph is still striving to change the world by:

  • Serving on the Board of Directors of Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh
  • Serving as a Low Vision Committee Member and Chair of the Publicity Committee of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind
  • Member of the Committee for Accessible Transportation (paratransit service)
  • Fundraising Committee Member of the Golden Triangle Council of the Blind (GTCB)
  • Led a team in raising over $10,000 in donations to finance research for Foundation Fighting Blindness
  • Campaigning for an international low vision awareness effort
  • Publicly speaking at various organizations on a range of vision loss issues

Because Steph is a single-minded, determined, advocate, and conqueror, it made sense that she would find a way to face losing her vision head-on by promoting low vision awareness and creating an open dialog to dispel societal myths on blindness and visual impairment. Helen Keller once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Steph’s vision is to educate and alter the mindset of how people view others with disabilities, and to that end, she is changing the world, one conversation at a time.

A Look Back Image Description: 

A selfie of me wearing a long-sleeve white tee with a gray vest and a Low Vision pin. I’m also sporting one of my favorite black asymmetrical wigs, the hair slightly covers my left eye. My makeup in this photo is mainly eyeliner and lip balm. A small section of my red couch is behind me as is a standing floor lamp.

For additional information:

 Visit Steph’s LinkedIn profile.

Read blog posts by Steph McCoy on the Visually Impaired: Now What? blog.

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Issue #26 | Ashley Nemeth

Ashley Nemeth's cover photo is described in the body of the post.

“So how did I judge a beauty pageant, I judged it the same way I judge the world around me. I listened to what was going on, I listened to what they had to say. I listened to how confident they walked down the runway. And I was able to truly get to know them the real them and leave all the superficial things behind.” ~Ashley Nemeth

Ashley Nemeth has been featured on Bold Blind Beauty several times where I’ve shared some of her wisdom in the form of quotes. She is a fierce and tireless advocate who seizes life by knocking down barriers and spreading her message of equity like a champion fighter.

Ashley Nemeth’s Blind Beauty Description:

Featured image is a Blind Beauty mock magazine cover. Ashley is all about business as her fashionably short-cropped blond hair frames her lovely face. In her selfie close-lipped smile, she has pink lip color and rosy cheeks. She is wearing a black blazer over a striking royal blue top. 

Blocks of text superimposed on Ashley’s photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others.”

You can connect with Ashley on the following social media platforms (links below):

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Choice On “How Do You Love YourSELF?”

Choice on "How Do You Love Yourself" image description is in the body of the post.

‘Choice’ A.K.A.’ Selective’ Is My Form Of Self-Love

The choice to record a video for Katherin’s “How Do You Love Yourself?” campaign caused me a brief panic attack. I grew up in an age where listening to my recorded voice was cringe-worthy. So imagine how it must feel to see and hear myself? Yikes! But I did it!

When you have a minute check the video out at KE Garland’s How Do You Love YourSELF link.    

Image Description: 

Panoramic watercolor cityscape in shades of blue and green. Reflections of the black buildings in the background are seen in the river. In the foreground is a black silhouette of a fashionable woman. She is holding her wide-brimmed hat as her dress blows in the wind.  Six red heart balloons (three on each side of her) appear to be floating in the air around her.

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Beauty Pageant Takes Step Towards Inclusion

Inclusion at a beauty pageant description is in the body of the post.

Inclusion In Action At A Beauty Pageant

I live for the day when we will no longer need titles like those on today’s post as inclusion should be the norm. Until then, breaking down barriers requires awareness.

Ashley Nemeth, friend and featured Woman On The Move was recently asked to be a judge for a beauty pageant. I was thrilled when I saw the article about Ashley because she is an advocate working tirelessly to break down barriers. For the first time pageant, organizers of the Mrs. Canada Globe 2018 asked a blind person to be a judge.

In her own words, Ashley talks about her experience as Blind Judge for Beauty Pageant. Way to go Ashley!!

Featured Photo Description: 

Lined up on stage are ten women, five are wearing evening gowns, pageant sashes, and crowns. Two of the five are holding red paper-wrapped floral bouquets. Ashley and Rick (her guide dog) are fourth from the left standing next to the two women holding bouquets.