"Nothing in life prepares you for that moment where you sit across from an eye doctor and have them tell you that you are going blind."
Derek Daniel is someone who knows that feeling all too well. At the age of 18, after graduating high school and preparing to head off to college, he noticed a spot in his left eye. Over the course of the next two months, he would go through a series of doctor visits, misdiagnosis and several tests and procedures. He finally sat across from a specialist who told him that he most likely had something known as Leber's Hereditary Optic Nueropathy, or LHON. With a confirmation from a blood test, Derek's life would change forever.
After learning that the sight he had lost was not returning, Derek set out to learn how to live life as a VIP or Visually Impaired Person. Just a few months into being blind, he had gone through Orientation and Mobility training, gotten set up with assistive technology and even went to train with a guide dog. Over the years, he learned many things about how to live life to the fullest even if you can't see very well.
At the time of losing his sight, Derek was working at a theme park in entertainment. He enjoyed being able to perform each day as a singer/dancer. He spent years working as an entertainer, performing on stage in various theaters and events.
Derek spent a big part of his life in full time ministry as a pastor and counselor. He learned about grief, compassion, emotional struggles, relationship issues and much more. Resigning in 2015, he felt like he was moving into something new.
Using his background in ministry and entertainment, Derek now strives to help individuals and families who are going through or facing physical sight loss. He provides education, entertainment and encouragement through his podcast, Youtube channel, public speaking and personal coaching.
Derek is certain that life isn't over when you lose your sight. His motto is "Sight Loss Isn't the End...It's Just the Beginning."
Derek has been married to his high school sweetheart, April, since 2003 and is the proud father of two wonderful children.
where is a good place to start?
This is a video I made a while back, so the quality isn't the best. But, I think it is a good "get to know me" kind of video!
This is the first episode of my podcast, "Life After Sight Loss Radio." I think the quality and value has gotten better, but it will give you an idea of what the show is all about!