Faces of United Way: Cory

“I was born with albinism and growing up I faced a lot of adversity. Part of my albinism is that my vision is twenty-two hundred, which basically means that everything is zoomed out. If you’ve ever turned a lens or a pair of binoculars over, that zoomed-out look, that’s kind of how I see the world. Everything is in perspective, it’s clear, I see colours and shapes and everything, it just looks far away. I’ve seen like that since birth.”

“At five years old, I met with a disability counsellor who told me all the things that I wouldn’t be able to do in life. They told me I wouldn’t be able to play sports, that I wouldn’t be able to drive, that my career choice would be selective and education would be tough for me. So I came out of that meeting with drive and determination to prove that individual wrong, and prove that I could do anything that a normal person could do. It wasn’t easy. I grew up with a lot of battles and people putting limitations on me that I didn’t think existed.”

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Luckily I had great parents who supported me wholeheartedly. They always let me live out my dreams and do the things I wanted to do. I dirt bike, downhill ski, I played basketball in junior high and high school, and I played football on the varsity team.

“Beyond a strong friend base, one of the most important resources I had growing up was the Canadian Institute for the Blind (CNIB). They were a really strong support system for me because with so much negativity living as someone with low vision and with so many naysayers, having my parents, friends and the CNIB supporting me in every decision I made really made a difference and I’ll always be so grateful for that ... I wanted to give back to the CNIB so I started volunteering with them so I could help kids and give them similar opportunities. Just this summer I was able to organize a basketball camp for children with low vision ... To me, the miracle of the camp was seeing these kids transform from having no confidence, to their state when they left where they were inspired to go out and try new things and realize their potential, because they didn’t have any basketball skills when they came in and they left with the ability to dribble the ball and make some baskets, all those basketball skills, and they lit up ... To see them building towards something they didn’t even think was possible was a great experience.”