Today I was reading a few of my favorite blogs when I came across this week’s Blog Off topic. If money were no object, what would be the perfect gift? Whether it’s for yourself or for somebody else, what thing would you give that you won’t or can’t give now?
This one is easy for me to answer because it has been my wish for the last 25+ years. If money were no object and I could throw in a little fairy dust, I’d give Michael, one of my dearest friends on this earth, the gift of sight.
Michael Corso went blind at the age of 12 (on his 12th birthday) from a disease called retinoschisis, which caused his retinas to split and detach over time. He was one of the first guinea pigs for the laser technology we use today that actually cures this disease. He is proud to have been part of the cure. I first met Michael when I was 20. I was hired to be his reader and work him through the ins and outs of a new technology called ITS (Information Through Speech) — one of the first talking microcomputers. I can tell you firsthand, there is nothing that this man can’t do. He skiis, bowls, golfs, and is the Managing Director at the New York State Department of Public Service. Michael has inspired so many people through the years there is even a scholarship, “The Corso Award Fund,” that awards up to $750,000 to students with disabilities for personal expenses related to continued academic success and/or for the acquisition of equipment or adaptive technology.
Most moving to me was a story my oldest daughter told me about a conversation she once had with Michael. She innocently asked him what he sees and he told her, “Nothing.” When she asked if “nothing” means black, he replied, “No, black is a color, and I don’t see color anymore. I see nothing, and nothing is even DARKER than black!” She said that Michael told her he is one of the lucky ones because he has the ability to associate his blind world with his memory of color as a child. He also told her … and I quote… “I always dream in FULL COLOR and NEVER, absolutely NEVER, am I blind in my dreams.”
If money were no object, I would invest in research and technology that could give Michael and those in his situation hope that someday he/they might see again. I would also want to somehow make his current daily life a little easier… like a home renovation to make his house safer and the gourmet kitchen of his dreams as he is a wonderful cook. I’d also throw in a full-time driver and perhaps a personal assistant. (If tie #10 is in the wrong place, his suit won’t match–I know this because, I’ve messed up those ties and have left a glass of juice where it didn’t belong; or mistakingly put something in the wrong place; or forgot to tell him to duck when I bent to avoid a tree branch–simple tasks the sighted take for granted–and yes we’re still friends in case you’re wondering). Michael has spent so much of his life raising funds for numerous charities and organizations. I’d love nothing more than to be able to help him in some ”over the top” way.
To get a sense of how amazing this man is, meet Michael here in his “Interview with a blind golfer Mike Corso.” I never saw this video before tonight. I was googling his actual job title and stumbled on this. It’s great, so I thought I’d share. Be inspired and watch this video all the way through because he interjects thoughts we should all hear.
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