Hello, my name is Launa Hardy, I am a member of the Blind Stokers Club. It is a privilege to be participating in this year's annual event, Cycling for Sight. The proceeds are used towards the San Diego Center for the Blind. This fundraiser means a lot to me, because shortly after learning of my diagnosis, the San Center for the Blind is where my story began.
In 1996 I was diagnosed with a rare condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa, also known as (RP). It’s a rare genetic eye disorder causing retinal degeneration. My condition is slowly progressing and could someday lead to complete blindness. In 2005, I became a student at the San Diego Center for the Blind. I first learned the fundamentals of living with vision loss, and began learning beginning Braille. The San Diego Center for the Blind is also where I first began working with a mobility instructor in order to learn the necessary skills of mobility. I graduated from the center in 2007. I am now a keynote speaker and occasionally am asked back to give presentations for their graduation commencements.
I continued my rehabilitation at the Braille Institute where I became a volunteer, teaching basic Braille to beginner students while working with the Braille Instructor. I also taught an Art and Crafts class and filled in as a Mentor and Orientation Instructor for the new students. I took a strong interest in painting using water colors. Over time I had two of my personal paintings converted into note cards to help raise money for the Braille Institute, and participated in showing and selling some of my paintings during their summer festivals. In 2013, I was awarded the J. Robert Atkinson Award.
While discovering a new world of living with vision loss, I was later diagnosed with a hearing impairment. I learned how to manage life living with two physical disabilities. While juggling my studies and my volunteer work at the Braille Institute, I went back to school to pursue an A.A. Degree. I graduated in December 2010 with my guide dog along side of me.
In October of 2007, I flew up to San Rafael, CA. to train with my very first guide dog. After four long weeks of hard and intense training, my guide dog Lyle and I graduated from Guide Dogs for the Blind. Since then I have returned to San Rafael, to train with my second guide dog, Jetta. Her and I became a guide dog team in December, 2014. I am currently the president for the San Diego Alumni Chapter of Guide Dogs Handlers, and the secretary for GDBWriters@groups.io. I also participate in the Writers Circle with Hadley Institute.
I am also a proud mother of three grown daughters and three son-in-laws. I recently become a new grandmother to two granddaughters and a grandson born two months and ten days apart of each other. My family is a big part of my life and I am grateful of all their support.
I joined the Blind Stokers Club in 2014, and I fell in love with the club because; I enjoyed cycling, the group events, and what this club stood for. I was truly won over when I learned about their mission of Cycling for Sight. Due to some health issues followed by personal circumstances, I took some time off from riding with the club. I am happy to have rejoined the team and am looking forward to riding in this year’s Cycling for Sight 2019. It is my honor to be able to give back to the San Diego Center for the Blind and help fund an amount of $500 towards CFS. I am asking for your support in this cause. Any amount you can donate would be greatly appreciated.
Congratulations Launa....Looks like it was a lot of fun.
In memory of Lyle and in support of your amazing strength throughout your journey!
|John and Cheryl Forst||$100.00|