A hope note
If you had been blind for 43 years, don’t you think you would jump at the chance to see? Maybe not.
It wasn’t that easy a decision for Mike May. Blinded from a chemical accident when he was 3, he adapted remarkably well. He even set a world record in 1981 in downhill speed skiing. He became a successful inventor and businessman. He married and had two sons. He led a full, rich life.
When presented with the possibility of a stem cell transplant that might restore his sight, he initially said no. His life was complete as it was. He did some research and learned of others, blind from birth, who became terribly depressed, even suicidal, after their sight was restored. The shock of integrating a whole new sense overwhelmed them; things like spouses and children weren’t as beautiful as they had imagined.
Mike May ultimately chose to have the transplant, primarily out of his profound sense of curiosity ‘ he wanted the chance to see what vision was like. The surgery was successful. The best-selling biography ‘Crashing Through’ chronicles his remarkable, inspiring life.
The summer before his senior year in college, Mike May had been the first-ever blind counselor at a summer camp. He led his charges that summer on long hikes, around poison ivy and rattlesnakes, through streams and rivers, over rugged terrain. On one excursion, the boys asked him how he had achieved such a good, productive life while blind.
He told them that if they would remember four things, they would do OK at navigating their way through the world: 1. Have adventures; 2. Speak to your curiosity; 3. Be willing to fall down or get lost; 4. There’s always a way.
The advice of a blind man with 20/20 vision.