VRATE is your ultimate one stop shop.  If you are or connected to anyone blind, visually impaired, low vision or blind/deaf – this is the place you can find everything you need. You can find all the right resources, agencies and technology within Arizona in one room!! And the best part?  The blind community is always changing and always bringing something NEW to offer.  Technology, Vocational Rehab, Mobility, Support Services and maybe some new friends are just some of the great things VRATE has to offer!!

rock panel
VRATE 2014 was an absolute SUCCESS. I was nominated this past year to serve on the Board that organizes the VRATE each year.  This was a complete honor for me as the Board is comprised of so many admirable people that donate so much of their time to the blind community.

Then they nominated me as the KEYNOTE speaker!!!  Holy cow, right?

I remembered how much the LHON Symposium had an affect on me – the energy, the awesome friendships & connections and tips I learned are impossible to forget! So I tried to bring the same concept to VRATE.  I met some amazing women who were all affected with various diseases that caused their blindness at different ages in their life. Our stories were totally different. Our mission was the same – to be positive, productive, successful, pretty BLIND girls that rock each day. We talked about our struggles, how we manage and our tips & tricks! I loved when we opened up the discussion and a few women told us about their love for dancing – so cool, right? We almost forget you DONT need your vision to dance!

The session included me rocking out to the song “BRAVE” and a little fashion show – thanks, Nordstrom!!! We talked about fabrics, textures and little things you can take youroutfits from day to night…Hello scarves!  Hello jewelry!!  But most importantly, we talked about the best thing you can wear…CONFIDENCE. No, the cane is not an instant confidence booster…There are some hurdles we all overcome using the cane, but eventually, the cane makes YOU confident to go anywhere and really, that’s the best fashion advice I have!

I met some INCREDIBLE people that day and I wish I videotaped it to replay it over and over.  So many told me their stories and I learned so much. Check out the picture below of me with the BLIND GIRLS ROCK Panel (Susan & Brooke) and great selfie with new friends!!

Collage for blog

Ooooh!  And the heels I rocked were tan suede, in case you were wondering! 🙂

At age 27, I went blind from a rare genetic eye disease - Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. I am here to share my stories of how it is to get hit with a disability and how nothing should ever stop you from what you want to do.

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