Inspiring the next generation

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I’ve had the most FREAKING AMAZING week.  I was featured in the Wall Street Journal about my 18 year career in the wine industry, and more recently my journey into the world of blindness and triathlon.  The article was written by an icon in the wine writing industry, Lettie Teague, herself an industry veteran with an amazing way with both wine and words.  The flood of emails, Facebook posts, and twitter tweets have made me swell with pride and love from hundreds of well-wishers and customers and friends.  So you can imagine my surprise that my week would get even better after I received an impeccable essay written by a young man who interviewed me last month for a school project.

His praise and prose both lifted my heart, and made me cry with disbelief.  I am SO honored to share this beautiful accounting of my life with you all, and please join me in thanking and congratulating Andrew for such a great job and knocking it out of the park, making THIS blind girl one honored and humbled young woman.  Andrew, THANK YOU!  I’ve also included a link to the Wall Street Journal article at the bottom- what a week!

Believe, Dream, Inspire is all Amy Dixon

            Go Amy, GO! Wow, she is really amazing – is she really blind? Wow! Heroes come in different sizes, shapes, and abilities, but what about disabilities? Can you see your roadblocks? Amy Dixon can jump, run, and swim over them without being able to see them. Amy truly makes others believe the impossible, dream large and make those dreams come true, and she is very inspiring to everyone for what she has faced and how she overcomes obstacles in life.

Amy Dixon only has 1% of her vision left in one eye and is totally blind in the other. When she was 22 years old, she was diagnosed with Multi-focal choroiditis, which makes you loose sight quickly as you get older. Well, I have never heard of this disease, one might say.  This is because only 50 patients in the USA have this disease. There is no true cure for her disease and she has to go though many painful surgeries just to keep her pinhole vision.

How does Amy live and do general things in a day? With her white lab Elvis, Amy can find the door handle, the trashcan and obstacles that are in her way when she is walking. Amy can take Elvis wherever, in a restaurant, they will be fined if she isn’t allowed in or on an air plane, the people are only allowed to ask is that a service dog and what task has it been trained to perform but nothing else. The only time Elvis cannot be on the lookout for Amy is when Amy says, “break” or lets his harness off. Then Elvis could do his business and roam around like a regular dog. Amy even has to hold his tail when Elvis poops so she can find the poop and pick it up. Also, on Amy’s iPhone, she has money-counting apps, apps that can read the text on her screen, siri for facebook posts, and many more. She has thought of different ways to live life just like sighted people do. Even though one might think Amy might have a hard life, Amy loves life and enjoys every second of every day like how everyone should.

Even before she was losing her vision, her passion was for wine.  She became a sommelier, which is someone with an expertise in wine.  Now, because she cannot see the wine, she has to use her other senses, like smelling and tasting.  These senses got stronger as she was losing her vision, so she can still perform her passion.

Amy was not always looking at her life in a positive way.  With all of her steroids and surgeries, and being discouraged to do anything, she gained 30 pounds and put her life on pause.  One day, one of her friends told her, “Why don’t we go for a short swim?”  Since Amy was a swimmer in college, she said, “Sure.  Why not.”  From a small swim to a longer swim, Amy became more active and realized that her life isn’t over.  From her hard work, she wrote on her facebook, “Yay! Size 4 Dress from mom!!! Finally!  Lots of hard work to get here, and I’m NEVER going back to size 12!  Steroids be damned!”

Even though she is almost blind, she is one of the most active people I know. With her white lab Elvis, who helps her with everything, Amy can do whatever her mind can think of. Amy trains every day for races, triathlons, you name it. And if there is no triathlon, she will run miles each day or ride in a spin class, which is where there is a bike mounted to the ground. Every time she enters in triathlons, when she bikes, she rides a two person bike. When she swims and runs, Amy and her partner will have a rope attached to their wrists so Amy knows where she is going. If everyone can see what she is going through, they can believe that if a disabled person can do this, one can achieve what they always wanted to do.

People can dream and dream saying I want to do this, but do they actually do it? When Amy has a goal, she would always reach for it and even go higher. When Amy is in triathlons, she dreams of being in the top ten, but… She did more than that… Amy came in second in New York City and San Diego and many other competitions. Plus, Amy does not only think about herself, she gives back to the community. She volunteers in the Lions club, which helps people who are blind. Even when it was cold and windy, when I came to visit her, she had a plan to stand on the sidewalk with Elvis and sell grapefruits to help the Lions club, and then exercise with the Navy SEALS, yes the Navy SEALS in the local YMCA and then help even more. With her expertise and passion for wines, she manages the wine auction for Near & Far Aid, a charity that helps poor people.  Even though it is volunteer work, Amy loves helping out other people in need.

Amy gets inspired by other people who believe and follow their dreams, like disabled friends, veterans and soldiers. She swims with men who are trying out to get into a two year course just to apply for the Navy SEALS.  She does the exercises that the Navy SEALS do, like swimming with only their head out of the water and their body underwater.  Also, her friends are veterans that got disabled after the war by getting hit by cars and Brad Snyder, a veteran who lost his eyes from walking over a bomb in Afghanistan.  But this is not all, then he trained to be in the Olympics in London not even a year later and got two gold and one silver! All of these people inspire her to overcome challenges and then Amy inspires people by what she does. If Amy wants to do something, she does it. She will dream and dream to a point, where she will be exhausted at night and dream some more.

Many people in this world are inspiring, but how can a person become inspiring? Amy Dixon is the most inspiring person a person can be. Why doesn’t she give up, she’s blind. But that does not mean that her life is over. No, it means that she has to be better than she used to be. Just think about oh, I am too lazy to do this or that, but Amy sets herself to be superior, not to fail. Amy impacts everyone’s life after they hear her story, by showing life is not over yet.

Amy, to me and everyone else, stands out to be named as an inspiring woman, that dreams until there is no more to dream, and inspires other people so much from her story. Amy has learned to accept life, defy her challenges, get over being called disabled, and she can make lots of funny jokes, so she can live life to the fullest. If life throws changes, you have to overcome, and do what you were born to do, live is what Amy Dixon lives by. Amy makes me believe I can do anything I want, believe in excellence, and want to inspire others without putting them down.

http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/SB10001424052702303932504579254372108156080-lMyQjAxMTAzMDEwMzExNDMyWj

 

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One thought on “Inspiring the next generation

  1. Hi Amy, I’m a member of the PA Council of the Blind and I came across one of your blog posts earlier this year from one of our members who emailed the post to the membership. When I read that specific post and saw some of your other posts I thought then that you were amazing but after reading Believe, Dream, Inspire is all Amy Dixon I’m just in awe!!

    Congratulations on the Wall Street Journal article (I’m going to check it out as well).

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