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Blind Beauty 80 | Eliana Mason

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“Disability does not mean inability” 

Introduction:

Since my relationship with sports is practically non-existent, I’m sadly out of the loop when it comes to any sports-related activities. However, I greatly admire women—and particularly women with disabilities—who are kicking @$$! I’m especially thrilled each time I have the opportunity to present one of these women on Bold Blind Beauty.

Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Eliana Mason, a young woman I’ve only recently met. When I saw her flip a 400-pound tire, I thought “I’ve got to meet this lady.” Like many women featured here, Eliana’s passion to change how people with disabilities are viewed is palpable. She’s a phenomenal woman who already is and will continue to accomplish amazing things in her life.

Blind Beauty 80 | Eliana Mason

Lima 2019 Throwing Photo is described in the body of the post.
Lima 2019 Throwing Photo

When I was growing up people always used the word “inspiration” to describe my accomplishments. This word frustrates me because you shouldn’t find it inspiring that someone with a visual impairment graduated high school, has friends, has a job, or plays sports. This should be the norm.

If you treat individuals with disabilities differently and as if they are incapable, then that is how they are going to view themselves and act. It is important we empower individuals with disabilities by not seeing them as ‘other’ or treating them differently but simply acknowledging that everyone faces personal struggles and overcomes them in their own ways. We all have challenges in our lives, just being visually impaired means everyone you meet knows what your challenges and struggles are.

We need both sighted, blind and visually impaired individuals alike to work together to change how blindness is understood and viewed. Don’t tell me I am your inspiration for doing something that is the norm. It is okay to tell someone they are inspiring, but it should be for something that is worth that acknowledgment.

I am an athlete and play on the Paralympic National Women’s Goalball Team representing Team USA. I found my identity and confidence through sports and wouldn’t be who I am today without adaptive sports.

Most people have never heard of the Paralympics, they are parallel to the Olympic Games, except they are for athletes with any type of physical disability. Goalball is a sport geared specifically to blind athletes and it has allowed me to excel as an athlete, to train, and compete at an elite level without my vision being a limitation. I am currently training full-time to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games next year in the hopes of bringing home a gold medal.

Being an athlete empowers me and makes me feel strong and beautiful. Strength is beauty to me and working hard to reach a goal is what pushes me every day to be better than I was yesterday. When I am a Paralympic gold medalist, then you can tell me I am an inspiration, after I’ve accomplished something that is inspiring and extraordinary. Until then, recognize that I am no different than you, and that I am capable and able to accomplish anything I set my mind to, just like you. 

Image Descriptions:

  • Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. The event was of the Team USA Red Carpet 2016. Eliana is on the cover standing on the red carpet wearing a red dress and gold sandals. Pretty Eliana who has honey blonde hair just below her shoulders. She is wearing a bronze medal around her neck and behind her is a dark gray backdrop with the Team USA logo and logos of company sponsors. Blocks of text superimposed on Eliana’s photo are: “Bold–She Keeps Pressing Onward, Blind–She Has Deeper Insight, Beautiful–She Sees To The Heart Of Others.” “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers.” “Makeup Trends for 2019–How To Maintain A Flawless Look”
  • Lima 2019 Throwing Photo is an action shot of Eliana preparing to throw the ball.
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2018 Hall Of Fame Dedication

2018 Hall of Fame Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

2018 Hall Of Fame Dedication

So the other day I had this brilliant idea!! I thought why not send out an email to all the folks featured on Bold Blind Beauty in 2018. The ask was simple, or so I thought. But as brilliant ideas go I hadn’t thought of all kinks in my plan. Thank heavens everyone didn’t respond to my request because I’d be working on this project into 2030. However, even though everyone didn’t respond I’m nothing if not resourceful and was able to include them as well. Here’s a link to the lyrics & credit to the music, Hall of Fame.

This dedication goes out to those featured in 2018 on:

Thank you to those of you living with blindness/sight loss for continuing to live your best lives. Many thanks to the professionals in the field of blindness who help us reclaim and sustain our independence. Thank you to the parents of blind & visually impaired kiddos who are fearlessly giving them the tools they need to thrive. Because of the work you do, together we are breaking down barriers. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!

Description: The video template looks like a chalkboard and it contains the names and photos of the people mentioned below.

2018 Hall of Fame Dedication

Email Respondents | 2018 Hall of Famers

Blind Beauty | 2018 Hall of Famers

Women On The Move | 2018 Hall of Famers

Cane EnAbled | 2018 Hall of Famers

2018 Hall Of Fame Dedication

The image is a cover photo collage of the first two email respondents and Hawkeye The White Cane:

  • Christina Holtzclaw – adjective is “Authentic”
  • Jennifer Dunlap – her adjective is “Mom”
  • Hawkeye – his adjective is “Independent”
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Rose-Ann Lyons | Blind Beauty Issue 12

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Rose-Ann Lyons | Blind Beauty Issue 12

“I walked in, was approached, and welcomed by such warm, kind, people.  I relaxed!  No more panic!  The “fun”,  the “joy”, the “excitement” began!!  When I arrived, I was asked what I wanted to do.  I have never curled before so I said I was there to learn to Curl with the Curling Team for the Blind.”  

Description: Featured image is a mock magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Action shot of Rose-Ann curling is on the cover. She’s looking like a pro, on this ice wearing a black and white outfit.

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

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Susan Kennedy | Blind Beauty Issue 8

Blind Beauty Issue 8 Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

Susan Kennedy | Blind Beauty Issue 8

“My vision loss changed how I do some things, but it didn’t change fundamental aspects of my personality. Curiosity and compassion deepen while self-pity and fear fade away as I embrace meaningful relationships and activities.” ~Susan Kennedy, Adventures In Low Vision

Featured Image Description:

The image is a mock magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Susan is on the cover smiling for the camera in bright sunlight. She is wearing stylish oversized shades while sightseeing at a lookout point at the Grand Canyon.  

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