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"Growing up as a 1-in-33,000 statistic can have a huge impact on your life," says Samantha Moore.

Diagnosed with achromatopsia, a genetic eye disease which causes extreme sensitivity to light, poor visual acuity, and complete colour blindness, Moore says the condition can be invisible to others.

“Living with blindness doesn’t necessarily look the way people think it does,” she says. “Even though their perceptions are not based on actual knowledge or experience with the disability. Few people know the feeling of being completely overwhelmed when walking into a new space with large windows, and being hit with a burning, tidal wave of light.”

Young people with vision loss can be particularly vulnerable when it comes to facing challenges, including debt and navigating the job market. In fact, only 31 per cent of individuals with severe vision loss are employed.*

To help her reach her goals, Moore participated in the Fighting Blindness Canada’s (FCB) National Young Leaders Program.

Empowering Young People with Vision Loss

Fighting Blindness Canada, is leading the fight against vision loss by advancing eye disease research, education, and public awareness, ultimately restoring hope and sight for the over 1.5 million Canadians living with vision loss.

One way the organization is empowering young people with vision loss is through the National Young Leaders Program, which supports youth aged 17 to 30 by providing leadership training programs that enable them to initiate positive change in their communities. This program helps participants develop career skills, cultivate independence, and build thriving networks; in turn, they bring their knowledge and experience into their local communities to help others.

Building Independence and Experience

“Independence is like a muscle; you need to exercise it to keep it strong. Fighting Blindness Canada is a place where I learned how to flex those muscles,” Moore says. “More specifically the Young Leaders Program.”

“For people with a disability, travelling can be so full of obstacles that it can become easier not to do it. I consider myself fortunate to have gone to the places I have been. But for me it’s not just about going to new places, it’s about facing the obstacles in my life and overcoming them, even though it can be hard. By seeing the world, I’m building the strength to conquer it.”

To learn more about the Fighting Blindness Canada, please visit their website and read more about the National Young Leaders Program.

Learn more about how RBC Future Launch is empowering young people.

* Source: “Factors influencing work participation for people with a visual impairment,” Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille.