David Kuhn running alongside MABVI’s Andrea Croak as part of Team With A Vision at the 2012 Boston Marathon
To date I have been in three plays, all of them after losing my eyesight. The first play I had a leading role; the next play, three smaller parts; and for the third, Night of the Living Dead, I was only in a couple of pre-recorded video shoots. I guess I’m going downhill, and the next step will probably be – oh no, director!
For the Night of the Living Dead I was one of the zombies. A few days before my Ironman in Wisconsin, the director of the play, Tim, assembled all of us zombies for a little walking dead training. Tim gave a number of visual examples of how to “walk like a zombie.” Well, since they were visual, of course, they didn’t exactly work for me.
“Hey Tim,” I asked, “Do you have a couple of minutes to work with me so I understand what you just did?”
Before he could answer, a woman next to me who I had just been talking with, grabbed my arm and said, “I’ll be glad to help you,” and off we went a few feet from everyone else. Continue reading →
Growing up, I always enjoyed my sighted life; I saw blue skies, the exquisite ocean and its waves embracing their shores, the colors of the seasons in New England and the colors of my socks, the expressions of others in all conversations… bliss! Now all the visuals, the beauty of nature, people, animals, the earth with its fields and farms, the flowing rivers and printed New York Times, magazines and books – everything remains dormant in my mind’s vault. Everything around me relies on memory, the reels of “film footage” from the past. I lost my sight completely in the year 2000 from a hereditary eye disease, retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
Adjusting to the world sight-lessly entails time and patience – both of which I find irritating, because time is precious and short, and patience – well, I have little patience. Perhaps I am infinitely in denial about my sight loss. My door remains open to the possibility of seeing again – why not? Continue reading →
David McCord in Arizona, as part of the year he ran in all 50 states
Occasionally I have a thought. Usually when I announce this, my friends all scream and run for cover. My having a thought is like announcing the end of the Mayan Calendar; nothing good can come of it.
But in 2013, I ran my very first marathon: Boston. Boy, did I pick a year to run Boston! After the bombing occurred, I was stuck eight blocks from the finish line, my brain in a fog, hurting, unclear as to what was happening, trying to stand up for over an hour until we were told by the police, “Go home.”
I went home through back alleyways, since so many streets were closed due to the bombing. No finish. No medal. And it didn’t occur to me until the next day that maybe I could have opened my home to other runners who were visiting Boston, staying in hotels that they could not return to because their hotel was now a part of a crime scene.
A few months later, I had my “big thought”: When I return to the Boston Marathon next year, why not open my home to a visiting visually impaired runner? Continue reading →
I have been married for over thirty-six years and have three wonderful sons. My wife is totally wonderful too – let’s just say I married above my pay grade! I’ve worked for NASA for over thirty years and plan to keep on this amazing rocket ride for at least five more. I have a BS in Computer Science from the University of Georgia (go Dawgs!) and I currently serve as the Chief of NASA’s Mission System Operations branch. Ouch, I had to pinch myself to see if it was true, and dang if it’s not. I am uno lucky man and I fall asleep each night counting my blessings.
And, oh yeah, I also only have about five degrees of my field of vision remaining, and those five degrees stink, but I believe my vision loss has made me stronger.
It does lead to some interesting situations, though. One day I told my division chief I was stinkin’ tired of running the ISS Recon branch and was in need of a change. He came back a few days later and asked if I was interested in traveling the world as the ISS Ground Segment Control Board Chair. He knew I was legally blind, but still provided me the opportunity. I strongly believe this is the way the world should spin: give people with physical challenges the opportunity to make their own decisions. I went home and prayed it over with my wife, and took him up on his offer.
No, no, that ain’t the story – that’s just the intro, so fasten yourself in for warp speed: I arrive in Moscow after a very long trip – about 18 hours between stepping out of my house and arriving at our hotel. The hotel is like a maze and has step-ups and step-downs in every room. A nightmare for the “walking dead” – and I’m dead tired!
I wake up several times, trying to adjust to “rocket lag,” and at one point I stumble to the bathroom, half asleep. I see myself in the mirror and step closer. Strangely, my image in the mirror turns and briskly walks away. I do that pinch thing again, and nope, I am not sleeping. I look around and notice my bathroom is incredibly large, so large it could be… A HALLWAY. Yikes! Continue reading →