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 can’t give now?”
This one is easy for me to answer because it has been my wish for the last 35+ years. If money were no object and I could throw in a medical miracle, 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 to test the laser technology we use today. He always told me he is proud to have been part of the cure and the advancement of today’s lasers that now save peoples’ eyesight.
I first met Michael when I was 20. He was president of the student government association. I was hired to be his textbook reader while he was pursuing his masters degree and worked to guide him through the ins and outs of a new computer technology called ITS (Information Through Speech) — one of the first talking microcomputers. This marked the beginning of a beautiful, lifelong friendship and deep bond for both of us. Michael is an incredible soul, and 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 that SUNY Albany created a scholarship in his name, “The Michael Corso ’83 Scholarship Fund,” established in the late 1990s to help students with disabilities overcome the challenges of higher education.
Most moving to me was a story my young 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 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 … “I always dream in FULL COLOR and NEVER, absolutely NEVER, am I blind in my dreams.”
Michael has spent so much of his life raising funds for numerous charities and organizations. He is a giver and lover of life. He is and always will be an inspiration to all.
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