THE LOSS OF ONE SENSE HELPED ME FIND THE MEANING OF LIFE

Ondřej Zmeškal brailovo písmo

I STARTED NOT ONLY TO SURVIVE, BUT TO LEARN AGAIN.

I am a blind professional athlete, writer, and motivational speaker. Perhaps not to miss something, I was born prematurely in January 1991 and from the beginning I had to fight for my life in an incubator. I survived, but high doses of oxygen damaged the vision in my left eye and three-quarters of my hearing. The doctors managed to save my right eye and I had a fairly carefree childhood. I ran around with the other kids, dreaming of being a famous athlete one day, not bringing myself to admit that anything should be different.

As I grew up in a village in the middle of nowhere, I chose to study and pursue a career as a gardener. I enjoyed my independence… Until the day my classmates and I were moving some furniture and while lifting a cupboard, a strange mist appeared on my good eye. Even immediate surgery could not save the cracked retina, and so, at 20, total darkness surrounded me. At first, I experienced depression and fear of people’s reaction when they see me with a white cane. Instead of a stellar sporting career, I was going to be dependent on the help of those around me for life. Oh, no! I remember sitting alone in my room, my head in my hands… And suddenly it dawned on me, “You can either keep sitting here, feeling sorry for yourself, or you can just get up and give your life a good kicking!” Then I began not only to survive, but to learn to live again.

I LOVE CHALLENGES TO SHOW OTHER BLIND AND VISIONING PEOPLE THAT THE OTHER BLANKS AND VISIONING PEOPLE

One day a friend of mine, Lukáš, came up with an offer: “Ondra, why don’t we start running together? Maybe one day we can run to the Olympics!” I thought he was crazy, but I immediately put on my sneakers. And for the first time I ran with my guide dog Black on the way to the train station in the morning. Soon after, I completed my first race and realized that my childhood dream of becoming an athlete was coming true! From that moment on, the desire drove me forward and never left. With every obstacle I surpassed myself until I fought my way to participate in the most challenging race worldwide. But medals are not the main thing. My biggest motivation? To help other disabled, but also able-bodied people and to become a living inspiration for them not to quit. After all, we only have one life, so we should live it up.

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