Randy Pierce Hudson Lions Club, New Hampshire In 1989, 22-year-old athletic and outgoing Randy Pierce was starting his dream career as a hardware design engineer. When a neurological disorder swiftly took his sight in two weeks, he went from being on top of the world to feeling brutally knocked down. Thanks to Lions and surrounding himself with the right people—and canines—he rose again, quite literally. Placed first in his division at the 2014 USABA Marathon National Championship Was named New England Patriots 2001 Fan of the Year Is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro this month Loss of Sight, Not Vision I thought everything fun or important in life was over. The good news is that wasn’t the truth, but it felt like it at the time. I realized I had to change my life from “can’t” to “can.” The first step? Finding those who already solved the problem I was trying to solve. The Right Resources The New Hampshire Association for the Blind taught me life skills. Guiding Eyes for the Blind gave me my freedom with a guide dog. I learned I could do anything as long as I take the right approach and build the right team. Another Setback When I was 39, the neurological disorder damaged the balance center in my brain. I ended up in a wheelchair. It was my choice to give up or push for my peak potential. After two years with experimental surgeries and many hours of physical therapy, I was out of the chair. The Great Outdoors As I got back to walking, I noticed that my guide dog, Quinn, loved being in nature. We tried a gentle trail. Quinn loved it. That led to bigger hikes, and then climbing mountains. When I climb a summit I smell the differences, hear the changing wind patterns. Vision is 20 percent sight and 80 percent imagination. Hiking Companions In 2010 I set a goal to climb all 48 of the 4,000-foot peaks in New Hampshire. Thirty-seven months later we had done them all twice—in both winter and spring. Shortly after the last hike I found out Quinn was ill. I’ll always remember how content he was on that last summit. Inspiring By Example I founded my nonprofit, 2020 Vision Quest, to give back to the two organizations that changed my life and inspire others. I’ve spoken to 42,000 students on how life is about how you choose to respond to adversity. I’ve never had a presentation when someone didn’t tell me the difference I made in their life. No matter how many mountains I’ve climbed or marathons I’ve run, that’s what matters most. Find out more about Pierce and 2020 Vision Quest at 2020visionquest.org. Digital LION Watch a trailer for a documentary about Pierce and Quinn’s hiking journey at lionmagazine.org. Do you know a Lion who you think has a great story or deserves a bit of recognition? Email us a brief description of the Lion and the reason you’re making the nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “One of Us” in the subject line.
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