A Book That Mattered

By Francine Juhlin, DTM

Randall Crosby’s journey with literature during a life-altering event is truly inspiring. It’s incredible how books can become guiding lights during challenging chapters of our lives. Imagine the profound impact of discovering a book that not only captures your attention but also provides a roadmap for navigating an uncharted journey.

In Randall’s case, as he faced the challenge of losing his sight, he discovered a motivating force within the pages of a book. The words on those pages weren’t just ink on paper; they were a lifeline, offering him a new perspective and empowering him to embrace his changed circumstances with resilience and courage.

This story resonates deeply because it highlights the transformative power of literature. Books have a unique ability to teach us not only about the world but also about ourselves. They can uplift our spirits, ignite our passions, and guide us through the most profound moments of change. Randall’s experience serves as a testament to the idea that even in the face of adversity, the right book can become a companion, a source of strength, and a catalyst for personal growth.

The District 84 conference is not just about speeches and workshops; this year it’s a celebration of the literary magic that unites us all. Let’s turn the conference into a book-lover’s paradise and make memories that’ll have us reaching for our favorite books for years to come! As we approach the District 84 conference, let’s celebrate the magic of books and the stories that shape our lives.

The book “Blind Sighted” by Marty Kline impacted me when I was around 28 years old because I had just become legally blind the previous year.  The author of the book—Marty—told his own story of becoming blind in his adult years due to Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), which is the same condition I have. Marty showed great vulnerability in telling us about his fears and even his anger about his new situation.

He took us through his own journey of progression, of finding a solution and even success in spite of his debilitating situation. His story gave me great hope that if he could survive and even thrive as a blind person, then so can I. To this day, the book impacts me and gives me hope.” ~ Randall Crosby

Randall pointed out that some events we take for granted can be challenging for the visually impaired to enjoy. As an example, Randall shared, “It’s interesting to watch the Rose parade today because it is audio description for the first time ever. Fascinating to hear all the integrate in detailed descriptions that the describers are providing. Details of the costumes and the uniforms of the bands and the floats. As a person who is blind, you can imagine that parades are not very interesting. The audio description definitely has a whole new element to it. Makes it more enjoyable.”

Now imagine other situations that may be challenging for the visually impaired, like a Toastmasters meeting. Randall shared, “Regarding Toastmasters, it is challenging as a blind person to be in Toastmasters as there is limited accessibility in certain ways regarding technology. I enjoy sharing my world with others because I don’t think they understand how it is, and why would they? It’s an opportunity for me to inform and educate and have fun doing it.”

Randall recommends people visit the VIP Online Toastmasters, a club specifically for people who are vision impaired. You can learn more about how they navigate in the visual world.


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