A Man with a Different Kind of VisionImagine a sport where NO one can see where they are going. That sport is rowing … and Chris Downey especially loves it because it puts him on equal footing with his fellow crew members. That’s because Chris is blind.
We learned about this blind architect back in 2019 and now, Lesley Stahl from 60 Minutes, is back with an update.
One thing in particular impresses us about about Chris: he’s ADAPTIVE. For every situation, he finds a way to adapt, to turn lemons into lemonade.
That’s why Chris never accepted that he’d have to give up his career after he became blind. He decided with the right “tools” that he’d be just fine. For example, he found a tactile printer that can read and emboss drawings, so he can read the plans almost like braille. But what is really fascinating is he started to “hear” buildings. Similar to bat echolocation, Chris can hear and feel his surroundings. He believes this makes him a much better architect.
Of course, it wasn’t easy getting to that point. After brain surgery, Chris went from being fully sighted to totally blind. But, with some soul searching, he made up his mind to set an example for his son that if you want something, you really have to work at it. And Chris wanted his life, blind or not.
Chris also needed to learn how to navigate to be independent:
- how to safely work in the kitchen
- how to navigate public transportation
- how to use screen reading software
- how to get around in the world on his own
The best part of his story is the unique twist his career took after he ended up losing his job during COVID. Miraculously, his blindness became an asset. Watch this amazing video to learn what happened.
If you live in San Diego and you are blind, recently blind, or are experiencing vision change, contact the San Diego Center for the Blind. We can help you to live an independent life. Contact SDCB