News & Media
Two marathoners meet up, sharing stories about
continuing to run despite obstacles
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Kyle Robidoux wakes up each day, puts on his sneakers, and runs.
“Folks with all different abilities can do what you need to do but you just have to adjust and adapt and be creative,” said Robidoux, from Boston, traveling to the area to talk with people at the Olmsted Center for Sight.
Robindoux learned he could do anything he wanted to, as long as he adapted, a few years back after being diagnosed with a progressive eye disease called retitatis pigmentosa when he was 11-years-old.
“For years I thought I couldn’t run anymore because of my vision,” said Robidoux who says he pushed the diagnosis out of his mind and admits he didn’t deal with it in a healthy way. “At first, I started walking and then running for a minute. When I didn’t fall or trip anyone, then i started for 30 and 45 and two hours.”
This past summer, he ran for 28 hours straight during a 100 mile race.
Local runner and Olmsted Center for Sight employee, Carl Tausend, ran 12 miles the morning he Robidoux for the first time.
“It was interesting,” said Tausend, who has completed two marathons and is training for a third and a triathlon. “It was fun to meet someone else who is legally blind and does marathons.”
Robidoux runs with a lead, a sighted runner who he remains tethered to the entire time. Tausend does that for some races but is running the Buffalo marathon without a tether.
Both athletes say they feel able and free to any anything they want when they’re hitting the road and running.
“I feel free and my mind can wander,” said Tausend. “I don’t have to worry about anything. i just run.”
“We are all facing different challenges but at the end of the day we an all continue to do what we want to do regardless of ability.”
Statler Center Graduate is Now a Successful Business Owner
It is a common misconception that individuals who are blind are less capable than those with full sight. Karen Moore is a successful example that those who are visually impaired have just as much to offer as their fully sighted peers. Karen is a small business owner who employs eleven individuals. She is also a proud graduate of the Statler Center.
Karen came to the Statler Center in 2011 after working for many years in the mortgage and banking industry. She began to have difficulty reading text on her computer screen, and after a visit to the eye doctor she was diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy. Karen quickly became despondent, unsure of how she could continue in her career.
The condition made it impossible for her to return to her job or do the work that she loved. “I just didn’t think I had anything else to contribute”, she said.During her time at the Statler Center, Karen received training on a technology platforms, including programs such as Zoomtext and JAWS (Job Access With Speech) that allow individuals who are visually-impaired to navigate a computer effectively.
But according to Karen, the technology training wasn’t the most valuable part of her Statler Center experience. “The staff at the Statler Center taught me that I still have value as a person. They were there with me every step of the way, helping me through my training and showing me that I still have so much to contribute.”
After graduating and winning a prestigious award for entrepreneurs, Karen launched Innovative Back Office Solutions LLC. Innovative Back Office Solutions, located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, offers a broad spectrum of administrative services such as payroll, human resources, credit counseling, advertising, and media management to start-up companies and small businesses. “My advice to those contemplating coming to the Statler Center: stop contemplating and come! It will be the best decision you will ever make.The staff at the Statler Center are professional, knowledgeable, sensitive, and will work hard to help you reach your goals.”
Distinguished Speakers Series October 2016
Link to YouTube Channel for Video of Speaker Series 2016
Link to News Story on Channel 4 News WIVB:
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Ollie Cantos may need a cane to guide him around, but he’s leading others on an important path; one to self acceptance, understanding, and success.
“We as members of the disability community are one of the most untapped resources of human capital that exists in this country,” Cantos told News 4.
The activist and attorney for the U.S. Department of Education visited Buffalo’s Olmsted Center for Sight from Washington, D.C. Friday with an important message: you decided what happens in your life.
“He gets people to just realize they’re no different from others. People with sight, people without sight, have bad days. And you can have fun with it and don’t have to be so hard on yourself,” said Tammy Owens, president and CEO of the Olmsted Center for Sight.
Cantos is the highest ranking person in the U.S. government with a disability. He’s also a leader in the disabled community, which led him to his most important role yet, dad.
“My boys, Leo, Nick, and Steven, first came into my life as mentees, but what ended up happening very quickly was the development of a father son relationship.”
His three triplets are also blind, they’ve been so since birth. They’re now teenagers getting ready for college. One of them plays in the band and is student body president.
“It is such a wonder thing to have them in my life and we are such a united family. Even though they’re 17-years-old, they still like hanging out with dad,” Cantos laughed.
He’s now a successful attorney, but his life wasn’t always easy. Ollie was reminded of his experience as a young man when his sons went through similar struggles
“I was victimized by bullying as they used to be. And to see them thrive the way that they’re thriving now, and to see them give back to the community is such a wonderful thing,” he said.
Cantos not only found his family, and his path in life, he found a voice. His goal now is help others do the same thing.
Biking Blind: Feel the Ride Information: http://olmstedcenter.org/biking-blind-feel-ride/