A wide shot of the Andes Mountains with a snow covered Mt. Ausangate in the center. The 2020 team of eleven are hiking in the foreground on a beautiful day.

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Guest blog: The meaning behind the mission
01 Feb
By 2020Visionquest
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A man in a black shirt and sunglasses stands with his German shepherd guide dog.

This week’s guest blogger Jason Valley stands with his guide dog.

In 2015, I began a life challenging battle. I had a staph infection inside my chest and spine. The infection ate vertebrae T11 and 12, about mid chest and back, as well as nerve and tissue damage. In April 2016 I had two lifesaving surgeries to stop the infection and reconstruct my spine, that also began my vision loss journey. I was septic and starting to shut down. Two of my optic injuries happened that April and a third that November. The long and short of it was, it was a horror show. A long brutal painful horror show for me and my family.

In 2017, I think, Randy gave a talk at Winnisquam Middle School. My son, Orion, was in the audience listening. Whatever he spoke about in that talk made a huge impact on my son about me and “being blind.” I was experiencing and he was witnessing my blindness unfold and my struggles. Randy’s talk somehow explained to him something he needed to hear about my condition that I couldn’t yet explain to him. He came home and was talking nonstop about being able to do many things again with dad. I think he also sent Randy an email to thank him.

It was also at that time that Future in Sight was helping me learn to get around with a cane. It took two summers of training to be proficient at getting around, my son was one of my biggest fans in my recovery and walked many of those miles with me or being my guide. I think much of that had to do with the power of Randy’s words and story about how blind people can do amazing things. In the summer of 2018, he and I began working with a trainer at the YMCA here in Concord and I began kickboxing to regain my strength. Racking up walked miles with a cane here in Concord to get strong enough to be able to apply for a guide dog. I eventually moved to concord for a walking life style.

I have gratitude for Randy’s outreach work and how it impacted me personally. I am grateful for the opportunity to be of service.  Now I have an opportunity to give back to the organization (Future in Sight) at a time it is in need, like it did for me. This is an opportunity to help bring those messages to others who need to hear it. That’s where magic tends to happen.

As Paul Harvey used to say, and now you know the rest of the story.

–Jason Valley

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