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Tracy from Hutto, Texas

Tracy’s Story – Submitted 2009-11-13

My name is Tracy Southard, I’m 17 years old and I currently live in Hutto, Texas. I was diagnosed with stargardts when I was 13 years old.

When I first found out that I had an eye disease I was heartbroken. I thought that I would never be able to do anything that I wanted to do. I thought that I would never be allowed to drive, join the military, and be able to participate in any fun activities. When I turned 16 I found out that I could drive with bioptic glasses. Although, the glasses do look kind of nerdy they work, so I’m not complaining.

I use a 4x dome magnifier that helps me read small print; I also use a zoom text usb to help me read my computer screen. I get all these wonderful devices from my school district and the Texas School for the Blind. I also got to go on some trips with TSBVI. For example, I went to a video game camp, outdoor camping, and a college prep weekend. I’m currently trying to find out if I can get any connections to go to Alaska. This would be the trip of a lifetime so, if anyone out there knows of some organization or someone that I can get in touch with to help me fund a trip please contact me at my email.

I am currently working at a pizza shop that’s only been open for a few weeks. I make pizza, wash dishes, and pass out flyers. I am going to continue with my coursework at an alternative campus until I can find a career that interests me. Presently, in my free time I volunteer at the Hutto Chamber of Commerce and I am an active participant of the Round Rock Police Explorers. Which is a youth training program to become a law enforcement agent. I like helping other and being around new people.

I hope that when you read this that you will understand that I was wrong to think that I wouldn’t be able to do anything that I wanted or might like to do. I have made a lot of progress since then and I don’t put myself down anymore thinking that I will not be successful just because I have a disability.

I am taking a welding class at Hutto HS too and I am really excited about all the opportunities I have been exposed to. I hope that I can continue to help others as that is something that is important to me. I have especially been looking into Global Explorers if anyone has had any experience with them or being a camp counselor over the summer. Please let me know as I want to travel and help kids and I think this may be a great way to do both at the same time.