I have always had the urge to help or make any situation better for someone else, but little did I know that the one who would really need it was me. I started to lose sight in one eye and progressively within six months, it spread to the other eye. I was pronounced legally blind with Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON >) and by January 2012, I lost most of my independence at the young age of 17. This experience changed me for the better and formed the vision for this foundation. Prior to becoming legally blind, I was artistically inclined, I found ways to enhance my artistic skill and continue to apply my creativity in spite of my disability. I fell back on my artist talents to help raise funds to carry out my vision. (Dream 10 Program >)
This event caused me to view life in a different way than I did before, accelerating my maturity and forcing me to make decisions that would help re-prioritize my plans, my morals and my faith, but ultimately my main concern was for others who might go through the same life changing experience. I knew how it felt to feel helpless and perplexed by a rare sudden disability and I wanted to do everything in my power to help those individuals guide themselves as their motivation and inspiration.
As life commences, where is the fairness in having one of your senses taken away? How does one go through life without having the capability to see? All these issues and questions I had to face, as I suddenly go blind, and my life turns black. The irony of this new world is that I always had the vision to plan the next stages of my life, but I never counted on losing my sight. Nothing in life could have ever prepared me for this moment. I felt lost – like my whole world, as I knew it was taken away from me, forcing me to learn again everything again. It was a secluded feeling, but I made the choice to have the courage, determination, and focus on my principal goals, because I only lost my sight – not my vision.
On September 21st 2011, I was in my Spanish class and I started to rub my right eye and noticed some blurring and spotting in my central vision, the sensation was similar to when you look at the sun for a quick glance and look away. The blur cascaded over the note-filled whiteboard, blending it all together, like the whiteboard was just erased. In frenzy, I swiftly dismissed myself from class and called my parents. From that point on my sight loss progressed, and I was taken to numerous doctors in and out of state, optometrists to neuro-ophthalmologists due to my suspected optic swelling. For my mother and me, the feeling was even dimmer since we knew what was happening: LHON >
Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON >) is a hereditary disease that entails a sudden and rapid loss of central vision. This disability-orientated disease has been in my mother’s family for a while. My maternal grandmother lost her sight over twenty years ago, and my uncle lost his sight at the age of eleven – only he was fortunate to recover three years later. However, I watched my grandmother experience the full effects of LHON while I was growing up, and I could not imagine experiencing it myself.
Lost My Sight - Not My Vision
LHON AND ME
I wanted to encourage others to envision their own paths and apply their talents in life despite a disability and to always keep moving forward. Rules in society are written for a life that’s black and white, but being disabled is at best gray. The road we must take to achieve success and impact humanity is the very roots of The Joseph Sehwani Dreamscape Foundation, together we will help overcome obstacles and prove equality for those impacted with rare disabilities. The simplicity of life will surface as we charge through the door of opportunity and fulfill our dreams.
THE FIRST STEPS
CREATING A VISION