We are The Smedley Family from Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Michael (20) and Mitchell (17), are affected by Lebers Congenital Amourosis (LCA). It is the most severe form of Retinitis Pigmentosa, as it has a very early onset. The boys lost most of their vision in the first three months of life and continue to lose a little bit each year. While their vision loss doesn’t stop them from acting like typical kids, it has made some parts of life quite challenging!
Michael attends Penn State University and Mitchell attends our local public high school. Both of them, and their sighted sister, Karissa (15), work hard and achieve a lot of their goals and dreams.
While their lives are incredibly fulfilling and blindness tends to fall in the background now, acceptance of blindness was not where our journey began. Please watch our TEDx talk for more on the beginning of our journey!
Throughout their lives, Michael and Mitchell have played nearly every sport, have been in the gifted programs at their schools, and were elected to Student Council every year they campaigned. It was a lot of work in the early years to spend extra time and effort guiding their social, educational, extra curricular, independence and technology skills, but the effort has paid off tremendously. Michael and Mitchell are extremely confident and that has carried them a very long way!
Please check out our book, Thriving Blind: Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight for more on our journey and examples of the possibilities that exist for those living with sight loss.