Diabetes took my sight, but it left me with vision
Dominick Petrillo is a freelance writer, who focuses on special features and game previews for PhiladelphiaEagles.com. Here, he shares his story of how – despite being blind –
he is able to experience the game of football.Like you, some of my greatest memories are of sports. Watching Mike Schmidt hit home run No. 500 against the Pittsburgh Pirates was
something I will never forget ... being at the Phillies game on May 2, 2011, and chanting USA with the rest of the crowd ... and, of course, the football memories. Watching the Fog
Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chicago Bears and watching Randall Cunningham make the most incredible touchdown throw ever after doing a one-handed pushup to avoid
being tackled. Amazing.But I cannot do this anymore.I did not see the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl in the 2017 season. I was not at the parade with the rest of the city.
And it has been a long time since I went to a Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park. This is because on November 19, 2012, just over one year after my incredible night at the
Phillies game, I went blind from diabetes.Family and friends thought things would take a turn for the worse with me. Instead, I decided to take a different course. I realized I was
not dead. Simple, I know. But what should have killed me, in my mind, did just the opposite. It gave me a reason to fight on. I decided I could use my story and the stories of
others to help so many. Through my love of football and writing, I had something I could still offer. Hope. Hope to others who are blind, others who are struggling with their own
demons. And hope for those millions of younger people who are still in school and wondering what their future holds despite their disabilities. With more than 60 million disabled
individuals in the country, it is imperative for all of us to take a look at ourselves. Take a look at how we look at others. I, and those like me, just want to be seen as people.
But to some, we are seen as less than that. This is where these stories from athletes, coaches, and staff can be a crucial factor. They can show that all people have struggles. All
people have tough times. But with help and understanding, we can all overcome.Within the past year, my struggles have continued to grow. I found out I am in the final stage of
kidney failure. This means that while awaiting a kidney and pancreas transplant, I am required to be on dialysis three days a week for four hours a day. As draining as this has
been physically, I continue to work each and every day to improve and make my way. I have put in hour upon hour of work. The kindness shown to me by the likes of the late, great