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Emilee Schevers | Strong, Confident & Independent

Emilee is sitting in a chair where the back is shaped like butterfly wings. Her cane hangs from her purse beside her. 

Emilee Schevers | Strong, Confident & Independent

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“I didn’t have a vision loss community growing up and I wanted other people to have that too, which is why I do things like share my story today.”

~Emilee Schevers

Editor’s Note:

Emilee Schevers who was recently featured as a Monthly Beauty, is one of seven Bold Blind Beauty Ambassadors. Emilee is also the owner of Tru Faces a community designed to raise awareness about disabilities and break the stereotypes surrounding them. A confident and outgoing Canadian, Emilee won two provincial pageant titles and proudly navigates the world with her personalized white cane. You can read about it in her article: Caning Confidently | Emilee – Miss Teen Personality Ontario 2021.

It is such an honor to share Emilee’s sight loss story with you as our December Woman On The Move. Enjoy! ~Steph

Beyond Sight Magazine Cover

The cropped header photo is identical to the image used on the Beyond Sight Magazine cover and YouTube Thumbnail. Emilee is sitting in a chair where the back is shaped like butterfly wings. Her cane hangs from her purse beside her. Text on the cover reads “Beyond Sight Dec. 2022 | Women On The Move | Emilee Schevers.”

YouTube Video

Introduction

Hello, my name is Emilee Schevers. I’m 21 years old and from Coho Lakes, Ontario. I’m a registered early childhood educator, Miss Personality Eastern Canada 2022, and I also happen to be legally blind. I was born with a genetic condition called cone dystrophy, which has left me with 10% of my vision left, or 20/200 in numerical standards.

Biggest Sight Loss Issues

My biggest issues that I face are having no color vision, and a lot of light sensitivity. Which just means that I get to wear super cool sunglasses every day of a variety of different colors to match my outfit. When I was little, some of the first signs that I was visually impaired are that my eyes shook back and forth, uh, because I had nystagmus. Um, and my head would actually shake to compensate that. So my parents knew that something was wrong.

There was very visible signs that my eyes didn’t work like everybody else’s. And so from a very young age, I was introduced to tons of doctor’s appointments. I’ve wore glasses from basically preschool up until about grade 10 when I realized that they weren’t actually helping me see any better and this was my world. I just knew that I wore glasses and that’s it, and that was my life.

When Not Seeing Is Your Normal

Emilee walking down the street with her cane.

I didn’t really think of myself as being any different from my peers, and I didn’t even notice really, that I couldn’t see things because I couldn’t see them. So I often held papers really close to my face in gym class. I would get hit in the face with like dodge balls a lot and everybody else knew why, but I just thought this was normal and I didn’t really start to acknowledge it until probably grade seven or eight when I started getting, individual life skills training from teachers and orientation and mobility training. Where all of a sudden it was like, for you to be independent going forward, you’re gonna have to use a cane because from this point forward, I had just been holding onto my mom’s arm and sighted guiding, even though I didn’t know that as what it was at the time.

And you know, being independent wasn’t something that I thought was going to be a challenge for me until I started doing it and I realized, I was gonna have to use a cane and I was going to have to think about crossing the road instead of just looking at the light like everybody else. And they were small things that I didn’t realize were going to impact me until they were, and I was so thankful for the teachers that I had and the supports that I had growing up that were able to allow me to be a confident, independent young woman that I get to be today.

Enhancing Life at School for the Blind

I’m also thankful for the opportunity that I got in grade 10 to go to the School for the Blind in Bradford, Ontario and actually meet other people who are visually impaired. Because for the majority of my life, I lived in a rural community and I didn’t realize I was I was visually impaired because I didn’t know anybody else who was visually impaired.

I grew up in a sighted community with sighted peers, and so the challenges that I realized that I was facing, I thought I was just the only one facing them. And so to be able to be introduced to the blind and visually impaired community and get to meet other people was truly life changing for me and that I got so many new supports, resources. But like friends, people who also put their phone like two inches from their face, and people who also have to use canes and maybe didn’t grow up using canes and now have to. And the struggles that I was going through, all of a sudden I wasn’t doing it alone. And so, That was really when I started to embrace this side of me that I kind of was almost neglecting for so long, and I was coming into this phase of acceptance and empowerment from my cane and from the vision loss that I had.

Sharing Her Story to Encourage Others

Emilee leaning against a white fence wearing a crown and sash that says “Miss Personality Ontario 2022”.

My sunglasses have always just been a part of me and embracing them and using that story to inspire other people of, look, I, I ignored it. I didn’t care about. I didn’t have a vision loss community growing up and I wanted other people to have that too, which is why I do things like share my story today.

So today we are a strong, confident, independent woman who just happens to be legally blind and still manages to live a very full life, and I am so incredibly thankful for that. And thank you for taking the time to listen to my story today.

Connecting With Emilee:

Emilee’s Bio:

Emilee Schevers is a 20-year-old disability advocate from Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, with a passion for sharing her story and challenging others to break disability stereotypes. After being diagnosed with a genetic condition that has caused her to be legally blind, Emilee co-founded a social media campaign called Tru Faces to create a community for individuals with disabilities that she later established as her pageant platform. As an Early Childhood Education graduate, Emilee is a natural leader and role model who is passionate about working with children with disabilities to give them the same support that she received growing up.

Connecting With Bold Blind Beauty

Like what you’ve read and want to chat about it? Join us in the Bold Blind Beauty Facebook group.

Photo descriptions:

  • The cropped header photo is identical to the image used on the Beyond Sight Magazine cover and YouTube Thumbnail. Emilee is sitting in a chair where the back is shaped like butterfly wings. Her cane hangs from her purse beside her. Text on the cover reads “Beyond Sight Dec. 2022 | Women On The Move | Emilee Schevers.”
  • YouTube video description: In the video, Emilee has long straight hair that’s wavy on the ends. She is wearing a light-colored sweater with a printed scarf around her neck.
  • Emilee walking down the street with her cane.
  • Emilee leaning against a white fence wearing a crown and sash that says “Miss Personality Ontario 2022”.
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