As soon as I started connecting with Ashley Nemeth from Mommies With Guides, I immediately noticed something refreshing about her: she is completely matter-of-fact about her blindness and her accomplishments. She is almost totally blind, so as soon as I heard that she is an avid snowboarder, I of course, had to ask how she does it. I think you’ll find her response quite interesting!
“I am not able to see anyting but small amounts of light so in order for me to snowboard I have a guide. The guide goes in .front of me wearing a headset and speaker that allows him to give me directions. He gives directions on which way to carve down the hill like left, right, pitch -which is when there is going to be a drastic change in the hill, like a steep drop -, stop, slow down. These directions allow me to get down the hill and snowboard safely. Snowboarding for me is the most freeing exillerating thing I do. It is very much my stress reliever.”
Wow, I find it fascinating that this fast-paced, downhill sport that would probably cause many people anxiety, especially without sight, is a stress release for Ashley.
If you’re anything like me, you probably want to know more about this adventurous woman! Here’s a glimpse into her story:
I am a mother of 3 and a Guide Dog user. My guide’s name is Rick and we have been a team since September 2014. While I only see small amounts of light. Blindness does. not stop me from living the life that I want and enjoying every minute. I love to snowboard, golf, read, write and spend time outdoors and with my family. I love to travel and love to travel alone. Travelling alone is freeing.
I was born with a form of Albinism which caused me to be legally blind from birth. My vision was always about 20/400 which made my world blurry. I was able to see things if they were close enough but was not able to see detail. I could never see things very far away from me, as my distance vision was horrible. About 3 years ago now I started to have some drastic vision changes and over about a period of 6-7 months I lost all the vision that I had.
When I lost my vision I had a choice to make, I could accept it move on and live life the way that I wanted to and really enjoy it and embrace it. And that is what I did, I have always loved to write, so I started my blog. It began as a way for me to just have an outlet for the emotional rollercoaster I was going through in my head and has become so much more than that. It has become my passion it has helped me to reach many many people to raise awareness of accessibility, equality, and to break down the misperceptions of blindness one by one.
Even though I can not see the world around me, I experience it, I do not miss out I embrace it and love it. I do many things that I love even without sight and enjoy them immensely. Some of the things that I love to do even without sight is to make YouTube videos and take pictures as well as doing my makeup and trying out new makeup products. These things may seem very visual and they are but they bring me joy.
My goal is to help those that are going through vision loss to realize their lives are not over but just beginning and they are the driver they decide how they live their lives. They do not have to conform to the many misperceptions of blindness they can truly make life their own and embrace it. For those people who think our lives must be horrible and we wish we could see, I want to show them the truth and that life can be amazing even in the dark.