SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – A Syracuse woman is on a mission to defy her disability. She is blind, bowls and has a business. She doesn’t let her impaired vision stop her from making a living or having fun. “Most people are afraid of what they don’t know or what they can’t see, but not me,” Melissa Thomas said.
Thomas became blind 13 years ago due to an eye disease that deteriorated her retina and caused her to lose her vision.
She was an avid bowler so when she became blind she had to relearn how to play. With the help of a coach she was able to do so. “Pin spotters helped me tremendously,” Thomas said. “They taught me how to use the railings, position myself and swing my arm to throw the ball down the lane.”
She taught herself to be blind so she could remember how to continue to live a normal life once she lost her vision.
“I would close my eyes and do the dishes, clean my house, sweep the floors do my laundry, basically home stuff until I found other people to help me learn other things like mobility and those type of skills,” Thomas said.
Little did she know these skills would prepare her to run her own business one day. She is the owner of Melissa’s Newsstand in downtown Syracuse were you can grab coffee, a bite to eat, the paper and a lottery ticket.
Eight months ago she met her fiance. “She is one of the strongest women I’ve ever met in my life,” Michael said. “Sometimes I think she is fake blind because she is efficient at multitasking and getting things done so quickly. I love her and can’t wait to marry her.”