In 1998 I enlisted in the United states Army as a Field Artillery Soldier, expecting to build a career by serving my country. Late in 2000 I began losing my central vision due to a rare eye disease known as Stargardts Disease.  Stargardts Disease is a juvenile form of macular degeneration and causes a total loss of central vision due to scarring that occurs on the macula, or the central region of the retina. currently there is no cure for stargardts. 
This timeline is meant to represent a journey of waging war upon Stargardts Disease and fighting back to rebuild my life, despite eye disease, vision loss and disability.

1998

In 1998 I enlisted in the United states Army as a Field Artillery Soldier, expecting to build a career by serving my country. Late in 2000 I began losing my central vision due to a rare eye disease known as Stargardts Disease. Stargardts Disease is a juvenile form of macular degeneration and causes a total loss of central vision due to scarring that occurs on the macula, or the central region of the retina. currently there is no cure for stargardts.
This timeline is meant to represent a journey of waging war upon Stargardts Disease and fighting back to rebuild my life, despite eye disease, vision loss and disability.

In 2001 I was honorably discharged from the Army due to the eye disease that would eventually change my life forever.. A career in the Army was not meant to be but I was determined to fight back and rebuild my life. Eventually I would lose the ability to read books, recognize faces, drive a motor vehicle along with many other fundamental abilities but I had to find a way to fight and live a life with the highest possible level of wellness.

2001

In 2001 I was honorably discharged from the Army due to the eye disease that would eventually change my life forever.. A career in the Army was not meant to be but I was determined to fight back and rebuild my life. Eventually I would lose the ability to read books, recognize faces, drive a motor vehicle along with many other fundamental abilities but I had to find a way to fight and live a life with the highest possible level of wellness.

Upon returning home, after my honorable discharge from the Army, I struggled to find work due to the vision loss caused by Stargardts Disease. I still  had to support my family however and it was then that my vocational rehabilitation counselor at the Veteran's Administration  helped me design a plan to earn my bachelor's degree at Kent State University. It was then, at the university, that my Stargardts battle truly began.

2002 / 2

Upon returning home, after my honorable discharge from the Army, I struggled to find work due to the vision loss caused by Stargardts Disease. I still had to support my family however and it was then that my vocational rehabilitation counselor at the Veteran's Administration helped me design a plan to earn my bachelor's degree at Kent State University. It was then, at the university, that my Stargardts battle truly began.

In 2002 I became a first-generation college student, with no experience on how to succeed in the college classroom as a visually-impaired student and a student with a disability. Not long before that moment, I was a

2002 / 3

In 2002 I became a first-generation college student, with no experience on how to succeed in the college classroom as a visually-impaired student and a student with a disability. Not long before that moment, I was a "bulletproof artillery soldier" and now I couldn't even open a textbook and read it. How could I possibly succeed in academia if I couldn't even read a book, I said to myself. Life had found a way to knock me down but I had to find a way to fight back.

For nearly six years I fought Stargardts in and out of the classroom  but with an an mazing support structure, I adapted to the college classroom and learned to succeed as a student with a visual impairment. The success didn't come without setbacks however. After only my second semester I found myself on academic probation because I hadn't yet learned how to adapt to the classroom. I hadn't yet discovered the variety of low-vision aids that I  would eventually utilize in and out of the classroom that would, once again, make learning possible. Through working with the Kent State University Disability Service Office, I built an adaptive studying and test taking model that helped me become the first in my family to attend and graduate from college, despite the eye disease that threatened my way of life.

2008

For nearly six years I fought Stargardts in and out of the classroom but with an an mazing support structure, I adapted to the college classroom and learned to succeed as a student with a visual impairment. The success didn't come without setbacks however. After only my second semester I found myself on academic probation because I hadn't yet learned how to adapt to the classroom. I hadn't yet discovered the variety of low-vision aids that I would eventually utilize in and out of the classroom that would, once again, make learning possible. Through working with the Kent State University Disability Service Office, I built an adaptive studying and test taking model that helped me become the first in my family to attend and graduate from college, despite the eye disease that threatened my way of life.

Unfortunately, near the end of my college experience I fell into a deep depression after my vision had finally degenerated enough that I lost my driver's license after a severe automobile accident totaled my truck. fortunately, no one was injured in the accident. I rented a car the following day so I could return back to campus and begin my new semester. Before the accident,  my awareness was still quite low. I still didn't fully understand what Stargardts Disease had done to me and how it would continue changing  my life and become a permanent threat to my wellness. At this point, Stargardts had taken so much from me. The loss of my driving privileges, along with my military career, plunged me into a deep depression that involved alcohol abuse and attempted suicide. The next chapter in this story is about how I, along with my R5-PARA Racing teammates, family, friends, and sponsors, all work together to defeat Stargardts and the depression that attempted to win the war. It might have won the battle but since 2010 through training and racing the tandem bicycle in many regional, national and international events  in the Paralympic Cycling Division and on the UCI stage, R5-PARA Racing has built a training and racing model which is used to achieve and maintain the highest possible level of wellness despite eye disease, vision loss and disability. 

My Paralympic Cycling Journey Begins

2010

Unfortunately, near the end of my college experience I fell into a deep depression after my vision had finally degenerated enough that I lost my driver's license after a severe automobile accident totaled my truck. fortunately, no one was injured in the accident. I rented a car the following day so I could return back to campus and begin my new semester. Before the accident, my awareness was still quite low. I still didn't fully understand what Stargardts Disease had done to me and how it would continue changing my life and become a permanent threat to my wellness. At this point, Stargardts had taken so much from me. The loss of my driving privileges, along with my military career, plunged me into a deep depression that involved alcohol abuse and attempted suicide. The next chapter in this story is about how I, along with my R5-PARA Racing teammates, family, friends, and sponsors, all work together to defeat Stargardts and the depression that attempted to win the war. It might have won the battle but since 2010 through training and racing the tandem bicycle in many regional, national and international events in the Paralympic Cycling Division and on the UCI stage, R5-PARA Racing has built a training and racing model which is used to achieve and maintain the highest possible level of wellness despite eye disease, vision loss and disability.

My Paralympic Cycling Journey Begins

Saturday

Nov 19th
2016

El Tour de Tucson

8 a.m. - noon
About El Tour The Ride Held annually the Saturday before Thanksgiving, El Tour is a fun adventure ride attracting over 9,000 cyclists of all ages and abilities from throughout the United States and worldwide, consisting of novice, intermediate, advanced, and professional cyclists.

2017 R5-PARA RACING PLEDGE DRIVE

$50.00 Raised / $20,000.00 Goal

Fighting vision loss, from the start line to the finish line.