Not Just “The Blind Kid”
Dartanyon Crocket, an international judo champion affected by a retinal
disease, will deliver the keynote address at VISIONS 2016, FFB’s annual
conference, this summer.
“IWANT TO USE MY STORY to inspire others with retinal dis- ease,” says Paralympian Dartanyon
Crockett. Crockett, 24, who was born with
Leber’s disease and is legally blind, will
be the keynote speaker at VISIONS 2016,
FFB’s annual conference, June 30–July 3, in
Baltimore, Maryland. (For more information about the conference, check out
Crockett grew up in an impoverished
neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. At a
turning point in his adolescence, he joined
his high school wrestling program. There
he found acceptance, a unique friendship
and the opportunity to beat low expectations. He went on to become a world
champion judo Paralympian and is currently in training for the 2020 Paralympic
Games in Tokyo.
In Focus staff recently spoke with Crockett.
Q: You obviously have not allowed your
blindness to limit you. What advice do you
have for others who have impaired vision?
A: Never use your disability as an excuse
for why you didn’t succeed. My visual
impairment made things like school and
athletics challenging. I had to find differ-
ent ways of doing things. I had to learn to
accept help. But there is no one in this life
who does not have a challenge of some
sort. The important question is whether or
not you will let yours hold you back.
Also, align yourself with people who believe in you and who see past your impairment and into your potential.
Q: Do you see yourself as a role model for
young people with retinal disease?
A: I spent much of my life trying to hide
my impairment. In school, the blind kids
were always separated from the rest of the
school. Kids and even adults would com-
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See CROCKETT, page 6
Pg. 2 | Donor Spotlight:
Pg. 4 | Q&A with VISIONS
Pg. 6 | Gunds Receive
Pg. 7 | Tyler Millard &
FFB’s Theme Song
“I’m giving toward
the future. I’m
investing in the
research so that
can have even
or a cure.”
Kathryn Birch, FFB donor
receiving treatments for