Spotlight On ACB Students - Abby Edwards

Editor's Note: The following appeared in the April 2017 issue of the ACB E-Forum
By Abby Edwards- Secretary
For much of my life, my idea of what it meant to be blind was always redefining itself. I had difficulty in accepting my blindness and the blindness community as a whole for many years. For this reason, I never expected to find a home in ACB Students in the way that I did last summer. I was the recipient of a 2016 scholarship and I can honestly say that attending convention just a few months after graduating from high school was a truly incredible experience.
My relationship with my blindness, and blindness related groups by extension, was never a source of personal encouragement for me. I was born with low vision in both eyes which degenerated over time. I lost the vision in my right eye when I was six and the vision in my left eye when I was fourteen. For many years, I felt like there was nowhere that I could truly say that I fit in. While I didn't have enough vision to do all the things that fully sighted people could do, I felt no connections to the individuals that I met who were totally blind either. When I lost my vision completely, I thought that it would be easier to find a place to belong. Now, I told myself, I knew what category I fit into.
As I began to try to involve myself in the blindness community, I soon came to realize that I still wasn't experiencing the level of connectedness that I was hoping for. I expected the ACB convention to simply be another repetition of my prior experiences with blindness groups. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to feel otherwise. I felt free to express myself and how I viewed my blindness because I saw others doing the same. At convention, I not only found a place of acceptance, but a desire to impact the lives of other blind students through my involvement with the board. I was elected as secretary at convention and it has been an exceptionally rewarding experience that I am so grateful to have had the opportunity of being a part of.