I am not a blind man trying to race, I am a racer that went blind

2017-01-04 | By Orcam Staff

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I am not a blind man trying to race, I am a racer that went blind - OrCam

On August 25, 2018, I attended the 38th annual Midnight Express 5K Run hosted by Country’s Barbeque in Columbus, Georgia.  This was a 3-day event, starting from Thursday night to Saturday night, including a Glow-in-the-dark golf tournament, Beep Ball/Softball game, and the Midnight Express 5K.  It was a successful event with over 1,300 runners, where the blind and sighted got to interact with each other.  All proceeds were donated to the local blind community, this tradition had started back in the 1970’s and have raised over $350,000 over the years.

Being Blind Doesn’t Stop Me

This was my 6th time at the Midnight Express.  The first time I had attended was in 2012, as a blind person. That was only 3 months after coming home from my one month stay at the University of Alabama Hospital.  At the 2012 Midnight Express, I demonstrated the abilities of the blind by completely taking apart a bicycle and putting it back together.  At that point in my life, I had not even dreamed of my motorcycle project yet.  Early on, I was determined not to let blindness take away my passions and dreams. I have progressed so much in the last six and a half years, and now I teach Machine Shop at a local high school.  This was only possible through artificial intelligence assistive technology like the OrCam MyEye 2.I was proudly asked to bring my Tragedy to Triumph Racing tent and my land speed motorcycle in order to exhibit some achievements of the blind community.  On one end of our tent, the local National Federation of the Blind group was selling glow in the dark items to raise money, and on the other end, I had my motorcycle on display and was showing blind participants how the OrCam MyEye 2 works.

OrCam MyEye 2
Having the Fort Benning Army base as a neighbor to Columbus, we have a large group of Blind Veterans.  Some of these veterans have the original MyEye 1 and they were truly amazed by how small the new version is.  They were also impressed with the new features the MyEye 2 came with, including the LED lights. I was also able to demonstrate the OrCam MyEye 2 to some sighted runners as well and explain to them how technology is changing the lives of the blind. If you are blessed to have a chance to attend a local event like this to benefit your local blind community, I urge you to get involved, even if you are blind or not.  You can see how much it can change people’s lives.