I can’t imagine losing my sense of sight. And neither could Veteran Steve Baskis – until it actually happened on May 13, 2008. Steve’s journey is one of many inspiring veterans stories that will make you think twice about giving up.
He was 28 years old and serving in Baghdad when a roadside I.E.D. (improvised explosive device) went off, hitting him through his passenger door.
Steve was hit with shrapnel all over his body, losing his vision almost instantaneously. Sadly, the blast took the life of his fellow friend and soldier who was riding next to him.
Steve’s road to recovery
Steve’s road to recovery wasn’t easy. In fact, it was probably harder than anyone like me could even begin to imagine.
Dealing with the physical and psychological effects of losing a friend, losing your vision and reentering civilian life all at the same time seems almost unbearable. But for Steve, this life altering incident was not the end. Facing the journey with a positive attitude was the only option.
In the video below, Steve talks about how he found the courage to fight back and maximize his new life after losing his sight. With an unbelievably positive attitude and a network of supportive friends and family, he’s not only recovering from this tragedy – he’s redefining what it means to be blind – one sport at a time.
Video courtesy of ABC News
Steve’s got a pretty amazing outlook on life, right? It’s humbling.
I admire Steve’s ability to bounce back from such a life-altering event. He has a grateful, confident and strong energy that I can really feel when I watch and hear him speak.
How did he summon the strength to keep moving after something like this? Where did he find the courage to keep moving into a world that was no longer filled with physical light?
Steve made the conscious decision to look at his blindness from a positive perspective – a perspective that was full of possibility. Instead of allowing himself to become a victim of a horrible tragedy, he chooses to take ownership of his new life and fill it with challenging, rewarding and mood-boosting activities that make him feel like the person he was before he lost his vision.
Steve challenged himself and now competes in triathlons, marathons and biathlons. And he’s not afraid of mountaineering at high elevations, either.
“The thing is, when I go and I climb a mountain and I go and ski and I actually stay up on my skis, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I feel less blind.”
That’s a pretty powerful statement that we can all learn from.
Every time Steve straps himself into his skis, he takes the power away from his blindness. His visual impairment suddenly takes a backseat to what he truly enjoys doing – skiing. He makes an active choice to invest time doing the things that bring him a sense of happiness and freedom.
Steve knows what he wants and he goes for it. And he’s sure to extend a helping hand to other disabled people along the way through his website, Blind Endeavors.
Blind Endeavors promotes awareness through adventure and exploration. In Steve’s own words:
“The mission of Blind Endeavors is to raise awareness through adventure and exploration. To not only share great stories of human resilience, but also to increase general awareness about the accessible technology, medical advancements and adaptive recreation that exist in our world today for people with physical and mental challenges.”
By writing about his journey through his Endeavors Blog, Steve is able to share his story with others who may be experiencing fear, sadness and doubt in the face of adversity. His renewed purpose in life now involves taking himself and other adaptive athletes on guided adventures through nature, around the world.
What can we learn from Steve’s story about pushing passed perceived limitations and facing our own fears in our day-to-day lives?
Learn more about Erik Weihenmayer’s victory over blindness on FindPerspective.org.
The next time I think I can’t do something, I’m going to think of Steve. If he can find the courage to step outside and embrace the darkness, I can surely find a way to let the light in, too.
With a positive perspective and a whole lot of faith, there’s nothing we can’t do.
Visit Blind Endeavors today to learn more about how you can help Steve and other adaptive athletes follow their passions.
Follow Blind Endeavors on Facebook.
“Help support Blind Endeavors mission to spread awareness through adventure and exploration.”