[mountainstate] interesting article
pakelsey at verizon.net
Tue Mar 16 15:56:41 GMT 2010
News - Blind Man to hike Appalachian Trail Alone
This popped up when I was researching topics for the magazine and I
wanted to bring it to your attention and offer the support of the
Matilda Ziegler Magazine.
If you visit the homepage of his site, you'll be able to read, "My
name is Mike Hansen. On March 1 I will begin to hike the 2174 mile
Appalachian Trail solo. I happen to be blind."
Mike says he is doing this to make a statement about the
"independence and confidence of the visually impaired." He is upset
that nearly 80% of all visually impaired people are unemployed, a
number created by the US Department of Labor. That number represents
employment figures across all fields and positions. This forces those
with a visual impairment to rely on systems like welfare and social
security. Aside from the financial cost, though, he cites the
psychological issues that stem from such rampant unemployment.
Depression and isolation, among others, wear terribly on people who
are living life with a visual disability.
He says that with technology, he has learned to operate a computer
just as well as a sighted person and with the advent of personal GPS,
he can navigate the city he lives in very easily. With future
technologies becoming more accessible and less expensive, and as the
potential for the blind and visually impaired to operate the same as
sighted employees, there is hope that the number of unemployed will
drop. However, it's the stigma that is placed on the visually impaired
that adds another layer of difficulty.
By making the long and, at times, dangerous trek along the
Appalachian Trail, Mike is hoping to shatter that stigma and encourage
everybody, sighted or not, that the blind community is as independent
and strong as anyone else.
Mike will make his trip alone, with only a cane and a GPS to guide
him on his way. When he is able to access the internet at stops along
the way, he will update his blog and inform the world of his progress.
He is anticipating that this trip will take him anywhere from six to
eight months to complete.
I hope that you'll join me in encouraging Mike as he sets out on his
journey. To visit his site, go to
http://www.hansonatcampaign.com/index.html. The direct link to his
blog is http://blindhiker.wordpress.com/.
Good luck, Mike. Stay safe out there.
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