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Thriving With Sight Loss, A Talk With Ed Henkler

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CANE ENABLED | AUDIO INTERVIEW

Editor’s Note:

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Today’s featured guest for this month’s Cane EnAbled segment, Social Entrepreneur and Creator of The Blind Guide, Ed Henkler, personifies Gandhi’s sentiment. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Ed and was immediately taken with his passion for those who are blind/visually impaired. Ed’s advocacy journey began with his mother’s sight loss (later in life) and today he works tirelessly to help people within the blind community to thrive. Bold Blind Beauty’s Nasreen Bhutta, sat down with Ed to discuss his journey and his work. ~Steph

Interview Transcript:

Nasreen:

Welcome to Bold Blind Beauty and Beyond Sight, an online community and magazine. I’m your host, Nasreen, and today we’re going to be featuring our Cane EnAbled segment, so in addition to celebrating all things related to the white cane, including safety and usage, personalization, this monthly series also shares broad perspectives in the field and parents of blind and visually impaired children, advocates and exciting news on the technology front. Cane EnAbled is published on the fourth Monday of each month.

Today we have a special guest with us, who is thriving and striving. We are going to be speaking with Mr. Ed Henkler, who is a social entrepreneur and advocate and who is very passionate about improving quality and life and employability of people who are blind or visually impaired. His website is TheBlindGuide.com. So if you want to learn more about Ed and what he does, you can visit TheBlindGuide.com. Good morning, Ed.

Ed:

Good morning, Nasreen.

Nasreen:

Thanks for being our featured guest today on Cane Enabled. You’re a social entrepreneur and advocate and we want to learn more about why you are so passionate about assisting folks with disabilities to thrive. For someone who’s not part of the community, why do you have such passion?

Ed:

In the early 1990’s my mom called and told me that she had macular degeneration. At the time, I had no idea what that meant. I knew degeneration was a bad thing.

So she explained to me what was going on and at the time it was only affecting one eye. At the time there were no treatments for it. We have some options today. So she was still able to maneuver in society; she still had one solid eye. But I told my wife, “We’re going to have to do something. When her other eye goes, we’re going to have to react quickly.”

We were living in the suburbs of Philadelphia; my mom was living in Florida and it was five years later that she called and told us that the other eye was starting to go and we had her moved within a week. But it was a very disconcerting time, obviously for her, but also for us. We knew nothing about blindness. I can’t say that I even know that I had come across somebody with a cane, or somebody who was blind. I believe we’ll come back to it later, but I do have some personal experiences, but I am sighted and have 20/20 vision.

So we moved my mom up, had no idea what to do, and there was really no accessible Internet at that point. So you couldn’t just go on and look for associations for the blind. But we stumbled across a group that was in our home town  and in the space of one to two years they restored her independence. I saw her travel further than she did before losing her sight. She traveled outside the country for the first time. She became a spokesperson for the Association for the Blind, something she had never done before, and I think, all in all, not only thrived, but probably lived her life better than she did before vision loss.

Nasreen:

What were some of the challenges for you, Ed, as your mother was losing her sight? How did you cope with those challenges?

Ed:

I don’t think I realized at the time what it was like to be a caregiver, so initially we just jumped in and tried to do everything we could to help her. I think we did a lot of the wrong things from not knowing how to guide somebody who’s blind, letting them grab your elbow, that type of thing, keeping them in control, to not understanding what she could and couldn’t see.

One of the stories I’ve told a lot of people is, as her disease progressed, she couldn’t tell who I was unless she happened to know what clothing I had on. Obviously no central vision, but I’d see her say, “look; there’s a dime on the floor.” That used to be maddening to me. How can you see that tiny little shiny dime and not see your son, who’s only six feet tall? How to get through that, how to help her in a way that let her remain independent. That was certainly our role, and it was her goal. I had to learn a whole new language. We had to learn how to describe directions to her.

I think the other piece is there was some sense of frustration. My dad had died early and now my mom couldn’t see, and I came from a family where my grandparents all lived into  their late 80’s and 90’s. Suddenly, very early in my life, I was caring for a mom that couldn’t take care of all of the things in her life and didn’t even have a father around. So frustration, concern, fear, not knowing how to deal with her, having no idea what was possible for her after her sight was gone… The list is long.

Nasreen:

Do you think you’re better because of it today? Is that the passion that drives you?

Ed:

I think I’m dramatically better. Clearly what my mom was going through was worse than what we were going through. I wouldn’t pretend as a caregiver that my life was the same as hers. But I had been somewhat blessed in my life. I spent two years in the Navy, I spent twenty years at work, I had always been employed, really hadn’t had any significant challenges, and I think I was a bit smug. Not probably in a bad way, probably not even atypical from many other people, but it’s easy to say, “I understand other people have challenges,” but when you haven’t confronted them, or maybe they haven’t hit close to home, I don’t think you understand as well.

I have learned since, number one, how hard some people are trying with very little success, how hard it is to navigate a world when you can’t see it, a lot of things like that. So it’s made me sensitive to people’s disabilities in general, and then that has carried over to other people that are challenged, whether it be transportation challenged, employment challenged, whatever it may be, and I was not that way before. I think I may have said I was, but I wasn’t. 

Nasreen:

You are also coach and mentor, and an advocate. Can you highlight some of those areas for us?

Ed:

Before we talk about the community of people who are blind, and that was back when I was working for the pharmaceutical company, this was probably in the early 2000’s, I had a woman who was working for me and she told me about this new group being formed called the Women’s Mentoring  Network, and she said, “you should attend.” I think I’ve mentored throughout my life. I was a Navy ROTC instructor in my mid 20’s. At that point I was trying to help younger people than me, although I was pretty young at the time. I was trying to help them navigate college, navigate deaths of parents, breakups with girlfriends or boyfriends, all that type of thing. So I mentored early on, and then she wanted me to join this Women’s Mentoring Network. I said, “well, think about the name. I’m not a woman; I wouldn’t belong there.” She said, “no, there are lots of men that show up.” “Well, that seems fair, so I’ll go.” I show up at the meeting and there is one other male there and about thirty women. I said, “I don’t see all the men.” She said, “well, I might have lied.”

[Ed and Nasreen laugh.]

Ed:

But I became very involved with it and I think maybe that was the first step I took towards understanding others. It’s not fair to call women a minority because they’re a majority, but they’re often treated as a minority. And I started recognizing the challenges they had, particularly younger women who have families, trying to raise a child, trying to work, trying to do everything. But I think that’s when I first really understood that mentoring role and became truly involved in that.

Since then, what motivates me with people who are blind is many people know there’s a statistic that’s thrown out that there’s seventy percent unemployment for people who are blind. And there’s a lot of noise around that statistic. There’s some that say it’s lower; the point is, it’s a very high number, and I think if you look back far enough, maybe twenty, thirty, forty years, maybe there was more reason for it; probably still not, but at least more understandable. With today’s technology, it’s completely inexcusable. I find no reason for the unemployment to be any different amongst people who are blind versus someone who is sighted, and certainly not a factor of ten. So that’s what’s gotten me involved in using the same techniques I was using with someone who is sighted to help them realize their potential and help them navigate corporate uncertainties and maybe my primary theme, which is to understand what drives you.

What’s your passion? And if I can go into a little bit of a story there, when I used to be asked what my passion was, I would have told you that I was passionate about strategic planning and trying to help senior decision makers figure out what they want to do, and as I look back, that was a skill. That wasn’t the passion. I wasn’t investing any money in that. I didn’t really care about it; it was just something I did well and it was what the company paid me for. It took unemployment, or technically early retirement, for me to finally realize that what I was passionate about was helping people who are blind thrive. And I will say it wasn’t me who figured that out; it was others who kept observing that that everything about me changed when I talked about people who are blind.

I finally told my wife, “I think the universe is yelling at me and I just need to adjust my approach.” And that’s when I really switched hard over into this concept of prevention of blindness and enabling of technology to help people who are blind thrive. But it’s really the same thing; it’s uncovering what you believe in, what you’re passionate about, and then finding out how to present yourself and sell yourself in a way that makes you a success.

The final piece, I think, perhaps, of this answer is, I’ve been mentoring a young man for at this point, probably four years. When I connected with him, he was one course away from graduating from Princeton. So this was a man who was completely blind, had a full scholarship to Princeton, within one course of graduating and had been that way for two years. Two years without graduating, with only one course to complete, and sitting at home with his parents, unemployed.

It was his parents who begged me to mentor him through the fortune of a strong network. I was able to connect at the convenience of his school, who simply loved this young man and wanted him to come back. Within a day of us agreeing to work together, I said, “you need to get on the phone immediately. The college wants you back; they want you to graduate.” Within six months, he was graduated from Princeton. So wonderful accomplishment there.

I helped him find an internship in an accounting firm, which was where his skills were, and since that time, he has been promoted twice he is about a third of the way through a Masters degree in taxation, and while he still lives at home, his life has completely flipped. He’s a very happy, confident person. He is moving gradually ahead of his peers, sighted or otherwise.

Nasreen:

Sometimes it just takes one person to make a huge difference in someone’s life and I think that’s exactly what you’ve done.

Ed:

Nothing could make me feel better. He’s not my son, but there’s some element of parental pride in what he’s accomplished.

Nasreen:

Absolutely.

Ed:

His parents and friends are so appreciative also.

Nasreen:

You were also part of the Igniting Power Initiative, and also, on your website, I noticed there was an article about augmented reality. How do you think augmented reality can help folks with visual impairments?

Ed:

As with any technology, opens up a lot of possibilities that might not be accessible to them just through what remains of their senses. So it’s been used in a number of different ways. The first time I became aware of the term was a Startup at the University of Pennsylvania that was developing beacon listening indoor navigation. It was using the environment to help people who were blind understand where they were within that environment. That would create a picture that could be prevented visually to somebody with low vision or audibly to somebody who had no vision.

So for somebody who doesn’t understand, augmented reality just takes reality, the world that anyone who is sighted sees, and it overlays content on top of it. The simplest form of that might be some text, or an arrow blinking, “here’s the exit.” But it can go into incredible depth. It augments what anyone can see regardless of their level of vision. Where that has gone since then is dramatically further. There are many smart canes. But all of those take signals from the environment and augment them with additional information to help somebody, in this case who’s blind, navigate the world. One of my favorite ones is called Foresight Augmented Reality and it’s down in Atlanta and in a couple of other places.

The back story is funny. A sighted person was on a cruise with his friend who is blind, and he said in the course of a week he got so tired of taking his friend to the bathroom he said, “there’s got to be something different we can do. This is ridiculous.” So they went home, and using Beacon, and that’s not ideal but it is the current state of the art, using Beacon, you can get a person to a very specific location and then give them information about that location. In one example, he shows a person in Downtown Atlanta near Georgia Tech going to a bus stop. Aw he approaches the bus stop, the app tells him, “you are at the bus stop.” It tells him as he approaches, and then it says, “you’re here.” And then it says, “The next bus that comes will take you to…” And then it announces when the bus gets there. And then it tells him during his journey where he is and what’s around him. That’s a much more advanced form of augmented reality where without all of that, at best he might have a sense of where he is, but this is completely tailored based on Beacon.

So if you go to a restaurant, you can get the menu read to you. It makes him, with slight delay, every bit as capable as someone who’s sighted, and it’s without the assistance of anyone else. It’s just his app, providing the same information that a sighted person garners through their vision.

Nasreen:

And wouldn’t that be a perfect world, where the blind were able to navigate without assistance at all from anybody?

Ed:

That’s something, Nasreen, that I didn’t understand before. To me, if you’d gone back to when my mom was losing her sight, and probably for many years afterwards, I would have said, “well, she could just grab somebody’s arm and she can get there.”

And I think that goes back to a general accessibility issue that I know I didn’t understand, and therefore we’re going to say that many people without disabilities don’t understand either. And that is, if I get a new job, or if I go to a new place, I don’t need to ask for accommodations. I just go there and I’m able to access it. For somebody with disabilities, including blindness, to have to ask does something to you. It makes you feel less empowered. It isn’t that the person can’t react quickly; they can’t put in a ramp if they’re in a wheelchair; they can’t add Jaws to your software if you need to access it. It’s just the fact that you have to ask. It makes you at some level a second class citizen, even if the person putting you in that position doesn’t recognize it, and they probably don’t. They don’t view you as second class; they just view you as someone who needs something and they’re going to get it for you. Try to put yourself in the position of the person who is blind. How frustrating to always have to ask for accommodations? How can that not make you feel lesser?

Nasreen:

I was reading through your website. I was looking at some of the blog posts that you had up there. I was really intrigued by some of the information. One line in one of the blog posts kind of struck out at me. It was about achieving your dream job. So I have to ask. Have you achieved your dream job?

Ed:

Actually, I’m close. I wouldn’t say I’m there, and the reason I’d put it that way is, I love what I’m doing. For thirty years of my life I worked with companies where I was proud to say I was a member of the company and I thought we were doing important work, but I was a tiny cog in a lot of machines. And it also wasn’t my passion. They were just doing important work.

Right now I am doing my passion. I’m directly responsible for helping people, such as the young man that I talked about. I’m directly responsible for helping young start-ups try to bring technology to market that might not otherwise get there. It will seem selfish, but I have yet to match that passion with similar income. So I’m fortunate that my wife is doing a good job with it. And I certainly supported us for a long time, but that is a missing element. No matter how much I enjoy what I do, I need to pay bills. So this is the path I’m on.

For a long time I hoped that I could get money from the start-ups I supported, but it’s just become obvious to me that that’s never going to become my primary source of income, and I’m not trying to approach this more from a corporate level because there are companies that would very much like what I can bring them and the connections I can make with them and people who are blind.

I don’t want to join the companies; I want to support them and help them be better, and let them compensate me. So money isn’t everything and it certainly doesn’t buy happiness. Those are all true phrases, but it pays the bills. But I love what I’m doing and it’s allowed me to live in a location I love.

Nasreen:

The fact is that you’ve got a drive, you’ve got a passion, you’re striving and thriving through it to help and push along and you were mentioning about corporate. With the ideas and the social entrepreneurship and the advocations that you do, I can definitely see over time, especially in the upcoming few years, thanks to Covid-19, things are sort of going in a different direction. A lot more remote work, a lot more things are happening virtually. So there may be some great opportunities out there for you to connect with all the verticals that you just described that you want to tie together. We wish you all the best of luck in that and I’m sure there will be some great ideas and innovations coming out and I thank you so much for your time this morning.

Ed:

My pleasure, Nasreen.

Nasreen:

To find Ed’s feature, and many other great articles and innovative information, visit the Cane Enabled page in the Beyond Sight online community at BoldBlindBeauty.com. Thanks for listening.

Connecting With Ed:

Image Description:

  • Featured image is the Beyond Sight Magazine cover. A headshot of Ed is on the cover, he is wearing a business suit and tie. The masthead is teal with “Beyond Sight Magazine” in black text. The dot on the ‘i’ in ‘sight’ is the eye used for our 2020 Year of Vision Campaign (described HERE). There are 2 lines of black text that say “The Blind Guide.” In the bottom right corner is a teal circle with an illustration of Abby Bold Blind Beauty’s fashion icon who is walking with her white cane in one hand and handbag in the other. She is wearing heels and a stylish dress made of panels resembling overlapping banana leaves. The dress panels gently curve from her nipped in waist to just above the knee. She’s also sporting her signature explosive hairstyle and “Cane EnAbled” is in yellow text under the circle.
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The Cheering Section Silences The Self-Critic

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Are you tired of feeling so invisible?
Are you sick of silencing your voice?
Do you still have hope that peace is possible?
My friend, oh you are not alone

You Are Not Alone | Songwriters: Emeli Sande / James Poyser / Salaam Remi

Squashing The Self-Critic

I hadn’t planned on doing a blog post today because I have two back-to-back speaking engagements this weekend. Seriously, I must be having some sort of out of body experience since I SHOULD be practicing instead of writing. However, when inspiration strikes I have to trust my gut and go with it. So here we go:

I am so excited about the events on Friday and Saturday because I get to do what I love—advocacy! Talking about the value and abilities of people with disabilities makes my heart want to explode. Well, maybe not explode because that would kill me, but you catch my drift. So anyways, the thought occurred to me, while in the shower I might add, that none of this could be possible without my cheering section.

My self-critic, I call her Cruella, as she’s quite cruel, is a monster. Fun fact: Cruella de Vil is also my alter ego who I adore because she’s so deliciously evil, but I digress.

Cruella the self-critic is constantly chattering non-stop in my head telling me I can’t do this, that or the other. Some days the noise is so loud I have to stop what I’m doing and take a nap, she wears me out so. However, today, while showering I heard another sound, it started out small then grew tall. To my delight, I discovered it was my very own cheering section. Honestly, I couldn’t help but get a little misty-eyed because the cheering section silenced Cruella.

Thank You To My Cheering Section

You know who you are! You’re in the arena with me and accept me as I am, flaws and all, unconditionally. I’m so thankful to have you in my circle.

Robert, the braille and large print booklets you created are phenomenal. Kathy, the braille mugs are perfect. Vicky, the powerpoint presentation with audio cues exceeds my wildest expectations. Amy, offering to manage the BBB Facebook page has been huge and I can’t thank you enough. Carla, you are no longer with us yet your voice is one of the loudest and most supportive. Becky, and the Giggle Girls, I will carry you in my heart while sharing my message on the importance of inclusion and representation. Gigi, your constant encouragement has meant so much to me. Holly, Maria, Chelsea, Max, Nasreen, George, Cate, and Jose our friendships/partnerships are so meaningful and you are extraordinary people.

There are so many other people out there who’ve supported me and I am so grateful for our connection. Thank you for being there for me, you’re the BEST! ~Steph

During my talks, I’ll share my recipe for social entrepreneurship and limitless possibilities. If you happen to be in the area you can catch me here:

  • Disability InSIGHTS – October 18, Erie, PA
  • SPARK Saturday (Self-confidence, Peer support, Accessibility, Resources, & Knowledge) – October 19, Harrisburg, PA (Pennsylvania Council of the Blind Annual Conference)

On a side note, Emile Sandé is one of my favorite artists and here’s an awesome song from her new album.

Image Description:

A black and white photo of an excited crowd of concert-goers.

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Path To Passion, Purpose & Identity

Path To Passion, Purpose & Identity featured image description is in the body of the post.

Path To Passion, Purpose & Identity

“Pay attention to the things you are naturally drawn to. They are often connected to your path, passion, and purpose in life. Have the courage to follow them.”

~Ruben Chavez

Birth of an Advocate

When I was growing up I remember feeling so small, powerless and insignificant. From an early age, kindness, compassion, and more importantly, the need to do the right thing was always important to me. As a child, I wanted nothing more than to make the world a better place. Accomplishing this goal would be a challenge without a roadmap to follow.

One thing I was really good at though was making poor life choices. Bad decisions like turning down a scholarship to marrying quite young and more, became my MO. Depression, poor self-esteem and emptiness derailed me more times than I care to acknowledge. Thankfully, my negativity was balanced by my tenacity and the desire to challenge myself to become more.

At the outset, I had everything against me. I was the product of a broken home, poor, black, female and I had an unhealthy portion of self-hatred. My childhood wasn’t the best and I learned early on that life wasn’t fair and to always be on guard. From my point of view, serious changes were needed but I couldn’t make change happen–I was just a kid. Even so, being a kid I knew injustices when I saw them.

Defining Success

Knowing my personal values were key components for me in becoming an advocate. Long before I worked for one of the “Big Four” accounting firms I defined my success. For me, success was always more than a cushy job, fancy title, or social status. Being able to adapt no matter the circumstances, to me, is a success.

When my three sons were small it was tough being a single parent. It was even tougher working full-time when one son was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Looking back now it almost seems like the struggles with my son Devon was a bad dream. Today, Devon is such a joy and he is also a great source of strength to me.

My Three Greatest Accomplishments

  • Raising three sons to adulthood with very few support systems and even less in the way of material things. Adapting by going without became our protocol and we did alright.
  • Advocating for Devon by working with daycare centers and school districts was another full-time job. This meant learning everything I possibly could about special education and spending hours on end communicating with school officials. To this day I still have the 3-inch binder filled with IEPs, transcripts, etc. This doesn’t include the back and forth email communications and phone calls almost on a daily basis.
  • My third greatest accomplishment was advocating for my disabled mother who was denied disability benefits. Her last denial spurred me to begin a massive letter writing campaign to my legislators. The outcome? My mother received disability benefits in a matter of a couple of months.

My greatest achievements have nothing to do with employment, wealth or material things. These successes have everything to do with creating positive change by challenging a system.

Challenging systems or societal norms with a laser-focus to make life a little better for others is who I am. Ultimately it’s my ability to focus, a systematic approach, combined with a thirst for learning; that propelled me into advocacy.

Coming To Terms With Who I Am

As a die-hard introvert, my most comfortable place of residence aside from being at home is inside my head. While sometimes being inside my head can be a scary place to be it’s also where the magic happens. Ideas and dreams of a world where people of all abilities embrace one another despite our differences are my passion. Having respect for other’s opinions and being open to the idea that every person has a unique walk in life has expanded my world.

For so many years I tried to figure out who I am and what my purpose is only to find I’d been living it all along. Sure I made many mistakes and I think the greatest was not listening to my gut because I wanted to fit in. Today, I’m no longer concerned with conformity and I’ve found contentment.

Terms others placed on me like a buzzkill, intense, and quirky, used to bother me but no more. I am all of these things and more and it’s okay. While I’m not sentimental I find gratitude in the smallest of things.

It’s no accident I’m an advocate, after all, I’ve tried to pattern my life after my favorite childhood quote. This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson remains my favorite today:

Do not go where the path may leadgo instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Never in a million years would I have imagined I’d lose my sight. Learning to navigate the world with a white cane and adjust to blindness is an ongoing process. However, my life is so much more enriched largely due to advocacy and empowering others.

Path To Passion, Purpose & Identity Featured Image Description:

I’m wearing white jeans with a gray Steeler tee with our black and gold team colors. I’m standing in grass with a tree behind me wearing tan flats and of course my color coordinated gold #WhiteCane slimline cane.

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A Dedication To Advocates A.K.A. Champions

Champion Featured Image description is in the body of the post.

A Dedication To Advocates A.K.A. Champions

Courage
Honor
Attitude
Motivation
Persevere
Integrity
Optimistic
Never giving up

One of the definitions for the word champion is “a person who fights for or defends any person or cause.” I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to work with so many champions (women & men, sighted & nonsighted of all abilities) featured here on Bold Blind Beauty.

“Belle et rebelle” (beautiful and rebellious)

I recently came upon the lovely term “Belle et rebelle” from a blog post. My friends at Green Global Trek recently used the phrase in Postcards from France ~ La Rochelle. When I saw the phrase I immediately thought of this community because we are shaking things up. The following song with the lyrics (below the video) is dedicated to you. Together we are breaking down barriers!

Here’s to all the Belle et rebelle:

Helen KellerAngela WinfieldSusan & Sherri RodgersEmpish ThomasAmy Hildebrand, Libby ThawKaren RowieJule Ann LiebermanEmily DavisonSuzanne GibsonFatmatta WurieStephanie Stephens VanSue Wiygul MartinJennifer RothschildLeigh Anne FocaretaKerry KijewskiJill KhouryChelsea StarkPaul MugambiMaribel SteelMary (Mel) ScottAmy BovairdCharlotte PoetschnerAudrey DemmittDonna HillSusan KennedyHolly BonnerKimberly WhiteTosha MichelleAshley NemethJenelle LandgrafJoy ThomasArie Farnam, BlindBeaderNicole Schultz-KassMara LaurenBecky AndrewsCarla Ernst, NicoleChristie SmithSilvia SeyringerJo Elizabeth PintoMaria JohnsonTaylor PapadopoulosVirginia MazeMegan DarcyRose-Ann LyonsLynne NicholsonCasandra XavierChristina HoltzclawEileen RobinsonDiane KrekMelody GoodspeedAngie RobertsLiz OleksaJill StephensShaini SaravanamuthuBeatriz García MartínNysha CharleneChrissy AntonopoulosBrittany WinnerEmily MetautenIvana TorbicaLizzie CapenerJayd Alex, Mja StæinarrJade RamosVictoria ClaireJennifer DutrowJ RenéeHawkeyeFaith & SavannahSuzanne ClarkeMarieke DavisNasreen BhuttaKathy Keck, Kirsty MajorLisa SalingerCaitlin HernandezAshley MorganLeslie ThompsonTori ClarkMichael RobertsonSherry IngramPortia MasonPenny ParkerPeggy FleisherMatt De GruchyJessica JannengaGlenda HarrisonJennifer Barrille, Laura Sottile, Jessica Marano, and let’s not forget you, our followers and supporters without whom none of this could be possible.

The Champion (Carrie Underwood)

I’ll be the last one standing
Two hands in the air, I’m a champion
You’ll be looking up at me when it’s over
I live for the battle, I’m a soldier, yeah

I’m a fighter like Rocky
Put you flat on your back like Ali
Yeah, I’m the greatest, I’m stronger
Paid my dues, can’t lose, Imma own ya, ay

I’ve been working my whole life
And now it’s do or die

I am invincible, unbreakable
Unstoppable, unshakeable
They knock me down, I get up again
I am the champion
You’re gonna know my name
You can’t hurt me now
I can’t feel the pain
I was made for this, yeah, I was born to win
I am the champion

When they write my story
They’re gonna say that I did it for the glory
But don’t think that I did it for the fame, yeah
I did it for the love of the game, yeah
And this is my chance I’m taking
All them old records I’m breaking
All you people watching on the TV
You go ahead and put your bets on me, ay

I’ve been waiting my whole life
To see my name in lights

I am invincible, unbreakable
Unstoppable, unshakeable
They knock me down, I get up again
I am the champion
You’re gonna know my name
You can’t hurt me now
I can’t feel the pain
I was made for this, yeah, I was born to win
I am the champion, oh

Born champion, Luda
The C is for the courage I possess through the drama
H is for the hurt but it’s all for the honor
A is for my attitude working through the patience
Money comes and goes so the M is for motivation
Gotta stay consistent, the P is to persevere
The I is for integrity, innovative career
The O is optimistic, open and never shut
And the N is necessary ’cause I’m never giving up
See they ask me how I did it, I just did it from the heart
Crushing the competition, been doing it from the start
They say that every champion is all about his principles
Carrie

I am invincible, unbreakable
Unstoppable, unshakeable
They knock me down, I get up again
I am the champion
You’re gonna know my name
You can’t hurt me now
I can’t feel the pain
I was made for this, yeah, I was born to win
I am the champion

I’m the champion, yeah
Surpassed all rivals
It’s all about who wants it the most (I am the champion)

Fight for what we believe in
That’s what champions are made of

I am the champion

Songwriters: Brett James / Chris De Stefano / Christopher Brian Bridges / Carrie Underwood
The Champion lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Champion Featured Image Description:

Two blue boxing gloves standing upright on a white background.