convention this past weekend, I learned about a man who is going to do something really cool. Note, I didn't say inspirational, I don't think it's impossible, it will, however be educational and it will help others undersstand the abilities of people with disabilities and hopefully that understanding will open up new opportunities and take down the barriers irrected in the hearts and minds of able-bodied employers and future friendss to someone with a disability. I also hope it will open eyes in the healthcare arena, too, as people see that blindness is not the barrier people think it is.
Let me introduce you to
He's planning to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, a walk of 2,174 miles. His only assistance will be a small cell phone with GPS and, oh yes, his white cane. It is my understanding that he will be the first blind man to do so relying on a cane and GPS, since Bill Irwin walked it with his guide dog and taped descriptions of the trail to guide him.
Why does Mike want to do this? First, he loves the outdoors. He is also an advocate for employment for people with "disabilities" and wants to show the sighted and blind communities that this is not only possible with help, but it's also possible on one's own. And, of course, this will be a huge adventure.
I was impressed by Mr. Hanson's practical, matter of fact attitude. He seemed down-to-earth and yet it is obvious that he knows he can do this. So do I.
But Mr. Hanson isn't just going to hike the trail, he's also having his trip documented, and that's where he needs some help. He's found a friend and videographer, but creating a video and turning it into a documentary can't be done with out money. He's looking for funds and connections to help publicize the trip and connections to people who can provide expertise in the areas of fundraising or communications and marketing. He's using this trip to publicly show just what we blind people can do and do do everyday and to correct ironious beliefs about disability, specifically blindness, by the media. Think about the stuff Saturday Night Live did with Governor Paterson.
So if you're interested in helping, please do. I know I can't wait to hear more about the trip when it happens.
And Mr. Hanson, if you're reading this, Happy Trails!