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April 9, 2014

Blind athlete speaks at Lewis Cass, encourages positivity

Motivational speaker encourages hard work and a positive attitude

The speaker at Lewis Cass Jr./Sr. High School Tuesday told students he couldn’t remember what his parents look like. He has never seen his wife or children.

Craig MacFarlane’s blindness prevents him from doing a lot of things, but it hasn’t prevented him from excelling in wrestling, track, and water and snow skiing. It didn’t stop him from winning more than 100 gold medals, many of them against opponents with their vision, or recording his own music. It doesn’t stop him from sinking a putt on the golf course every once in a while either. Most importantly, he said it hasn’t prevented him from maintaining a positive attitude, something the Zionsville resident teaches others how to achieve through his career as a motivational speaker.

”I could have used my blindness as an excuse to throw in the towel,” MacFarlane told the sixth- through 12th-graders of his time growing up without his vision, “but I refused to do it then and I certainly refuse to do it now.”

MacFarlane grew up on a farm in the Canadian province of Ontario. He was 2 years old when a blowtorch striker hit his left eye while playing with some children, eventually causing a disease that spread to his right eye and ended up leaving him completely blind.

His parents were responsible for starting him out on the positive path he continues on today, he said, adding that his mother often said, “We didn’t know how to raise a blind kid, so we just raised a kid.”

As MacFarlane grew older, he attended a school for the blind in Canada. There he was introduced to wrestling, a sport he would continue to participate in for the next 11 years. Through wrestling, he developed an admiration for hard work that he encourages others to pursue today in his motivational speeches.

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