Please join the Newtown Bookshop as we welcome author, Kristin Smedley, "Thriving Blind : Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight" on May 16th at 6:30pm. Kristin will be speaking about her book and signing copies. All proceeds from her book this evening will go to the Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation.
All are Invited!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Talking Points about Thriving Blind:
- The book was written with a very specific audience in mind: a parent that is crying on the couch in devastation over the news that their child is blind (just as the author did 19 years ago)
- The people featured in the book include an American Idol finalist (Scott MacIntyre), the CEO of a large national Organization (Kirk Adams), a female Ironman competitor, and a stay at home Dad.
- It has achieved the #1 New Release status on Amazon for Kindle and paperback and the reviews are all 5 stars.
- Much of the audience raving about this book are NOT in the blind community. They are “regular” people dealing with challenges or adversity.
- The Foreword was written by a blind man that has climbed all seven summits and kayaked the 226 miles of the Grand Canyon.
- The book is self-published to figure out where the problems are in getting accessible versions to blind readers
- Braille is a challenge to produce. The CEO of TMobile is funding the electronic Braille file
Talking points about blindness:
- 70% of blind Americans are unemployed
- Only 30% of blind students graduate high school
- Only 14.4% of blind college students will receive a Bachelor’s degree or higher
- The grim statistics have nothing to do with intellect or drive, but rather perception of blindness
Talking points about the author and her sons:
- The author’s oldest blind son was only expected to achieve 70% of the sighted children’s goals in Kindergarten in his public school. He went on to be in the top 10% of his high school class and was the graduation speaker. He is in college in Nashville and made the Dean’s List.
- The author’s younger blind son has qualified for the International Braille competition finals three times – competition is in Los Angeles. It’s as competitive as the National Spelling Bee.
- The author also has a sighted daughter
- The author did a TEDx talk in New York City about changing perceptions of blindness
- The author spoke at the FDA to help get the first ever gene therapy to reverse vision loss approved (2017)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristin Smedley is an award-winning non-profit leader, TEDx speaker, and author - but she never planned on any of that. Kristin did plan to be a great third grade teacher, however her personal path to greatness took an unexpected turn when two of her three children were diagnosed as blind. She had to learn the tools of blindness and build a team of experts that would help her navigate this path that she had not been trained for. Kristin’s two blind sons are now thriving as gifted high school and college students, elected student council officials, baseball championship winners, International Braille competition finalists, and social butterflies.
In 2011 Kristin founded the Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation, the only patient organization in the world for her sons’ blindness, CRB1 LCA/RP. Kristin has led the CRBF to raise over $1 Million, introduced the first ever legislation in the United States in Braille, and has moved rare eye diseases from rarely talked about to being discussed in key circles worldwide. Kristin was one of only twelve people in the world to testify at the FDA on behalf of the first ever gene therapy to treat blindness. That gene therapy, LUXTURNA, became the first ever gene therapy for an inherited disease to be granted FDA approval.
In 2017 Kristin delivered a TEDx talk in New York City regarding how her blind sons completely changed her perception of blindness and was appointed the Pennsylvania Ambassador for the National Organization for Rare Disorders.
Kristin and three colleagues host a podcast on iTunes called 4 Chicks Chatting. In 2019 she will publish her first book, Thriving Blind: Stories of Success Without Sight. Kristin challenges people to SEE: Set Extraordinary Expectations in their lives.
Kristin enjoys speaking about her journey and pointing out where she can find the fun in fundamentally challenging situations life delivers. Kristin’s mantra is: Life is funny… sort of! When she isn’t out in the world changing people’s perception of blindness and rare disease, she can usually be found at her home in Bucks County with her three children playing Family Feud, jumping on the trampoline, or hosting a jam session with friends!
Blindness. A tough topic to discuss? Not anymore. In this groundbreaking book, readers will see blindness in a whole new light. In fact, the compelling and entertaining stories will not only change perceptions of blindness, they'll make readers forget the people featured are actually blind.