To struggling mothers of young children who are blind,
Please know that where you are I once was, as well. I have grieved, cried, and felt helpless. But I know that my son also has many opportunities sighted kids don't have. My son is Brandon Keith Biggs. He is 19 now. I know that unless a cure is found for CRB1 that Brandon will one day go totally blind. He almost is now. I have struggled with the same feelings you have, but let me share with you all that he has accomplished so far in his life...not to brag but to let you know that our children can be just like other kids and excel at the same opportunities as other kids. Brandon's motto in life is "Dream the impossible dream...then live it." He does just that. Your children can, too. The best thing I ever did for Brandon was to stop feeling sorry for myself and realize that my job was to help him learn to be as independent as possible. He had chores from the time he was 3 years old. He was earning money by raising and selling baby hamsters to pet stores at the age of 5. Raising and taking care of lambs, chickens, and bunnies for 4-H and winning trophies for best of show, best demonstrations, and best fitting and showing. He has won speech contests and dramatic speech contests. We never said no, you can't do that because you are blind." We said, "OK, let's do it!" We brainstormed ways things could be accessible and then let him go for whatever he wanted to do. We didn't stand in his way. We stood behind him.
Brandon played JV basketball in middle school after meeting with the coach and school personnel by himself to convince them that he wanted to be treated like his sighted peers and have an opportunity to play. He was terrible at making baskets, but an awesome guard.
Brandon was a wrestler with the Dayton mat dogs. He fought hard and did a great job.
Brandon ran cross country and had excellent times. He still runs today. He runs with a running partner on the sidewalks and trails. He runs by himself on the track at school.
Brandon is a part of a dance team and has taken ballet, tap, modern, ballroom, and waltz.
Brandon has been in 15 musical theater and opera productions in community and semi-professional theatre.
Brandon plays recorder, drums, guitar, clarinet, and is now learning the piano. He tried violin but didn't like it.
Brandon graduated from high school with honors. He had a 4.2 GPA and 60 college credits when he graduated.
Brandon is finishing his AA degree in music technology at Foothill College with a 3.98 GPA so far after only being an official college student for one year. He discovered he cannot do the music technology because of accessibility issues. He is looking at switching to Humanities.
Brandon has done print modeling.
Brandon is technology saavy and uses all kinds of technology to make things accessible for him.
Brandon has callbacks for live auditions to two music conservatories in the next two months: Mannes and Curtis. He was not accepted, but being called back was amazing.
Brandon on ABC7 News Special in San Francisco:
Brandon's first film. He plays one of the friends around the campfire and one of the German soldiers playing cards that gets killed in this film. Brandon is blind with LCA-CRB1 gene.
Brandon singing at his Halloween Opera performance:
Brandon in his acting demo reel:
Now I have moved on to help other children who are blind find independence:
Your children have the world at their fingertips! They can become just about anything you let them be. I am only posting all this so that you can see being blind is not something that can keep your children from living their dreams or your dreams for them. All of our children are amazing because they are our children!
With a mother's love and heart,