In February 2010, Joe McCormick was a happy, healthy 17 year old high school senior when he was diagnosed with Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON). LHON is a mitochondrial disease that causes sudden and severe central vision loss. Within months, Joe was legally blind. Before his diagnosis, Joe was at the top of his class, the captain of his Robotics team, and goalie of the varsity soccer team, He was slated to attend MIT in the fall and study mechanical engineering. He loved spending time with his friends and family, and especially his girlfriend, Ashley. One of Joe’s favorite things to do was drive his car. He loved the freedom of being able to just hop in his car and go.
Fast-forward to 2013…
“Three years ago today, I had to tell my 17 year old son that the problem with his eye was a rare disease called Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. I had to tell him that he would lose vision in his other eye. I had to tell him that it would probably happen very quickly. I had to tell him that this disease has no treatment and no cure. I had to tell him that he would not be able to drive, to read, to recognize faces. It is the hardest, saddest thing I have ever had to do! A mother should not have to tell her son any of these things. We all cried ourselves to sleep that night. The next day he got up at 6am and went to school and never missed a day unless he had a doctor’s appointment. He told his friends “I may be going blind but I am still one of the luckiest people I know.” Today I am very proud to say my son is a junior in college and he is doing amazing! “Adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it.” – James Lane Allen” ~ Facebook | 2/25/2013
“…he is not your average Joe!”
Most people really struggle with vision loss. Joe found a way to accept it. He went on to graduate from Harvard University with a degree in computer Science in just 4 years without any delays or extra time to help him with his vision loss. He is passionate about Beepball and loves playing the game with his amazing teammates. On the field he has become an All-Star in the NBBA (National Beep Baseball Association) by hitting .600 at the 2014 World Series. He still enjoys the game to this day. Joe is now happily married to Ashley and lives in Beverly, MA. You will be amazed to see what he can accomplish with his vision loss because he is not your average Joe! ( Photo is Dawn McCormick and her son Joe at Joe & Ashley’s wedding – 2017)
Shared with permission from Dawn McCormick | A Very Proud Mom | Saugus, MA
This is a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing and giving hope to others!
I still remember you, Dawn, “coming on board” when you first found out about Joe’s diagnosis. You’ve both come so far and I love reading that he’s doing so well. Thank you for sharing it!
What an inspiration Joe is. My husband is going blind, is 75 and not adjusting well. He has retinitis pigmentosa. God bless Joe and his wife in this journey. He has overcome many obstacles.