[tabi] Recent news story about one of Tallahassee's own

  • From: "Tinetta Cooper" <tanetjec@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <"Undisclosed-Recipient:;"@freelists.org>
  • Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2012 08:09:34 -0400

A story that appeared on one of Tallahassee's news stations was so heart warming I had to share it with you. I don't know if Dave is on any of our lists, but he is an amazing member of the blind community.

A link to the story appears at the end of this message.

Blind Ambition: One Man's Story of Triumph in the Midst of Tragedy

July 10, 2012

Most of us will never complete a triathlon. Even thinking about it can make your muscles hurt. But a Tallahassee man began taking that challenge in stride only after losing something most of us can't imagine living without.

"The day after Christmas in the middle of the night while my father and I were asleep my step mother shot my father and I with a 38 caliber revolver. I was shot in the head," said Bigoney.

Those gunshots took his dad's life, and Dave's sight.

"I'd never done anything without seeing so it was frustrating," said Bigoney.

He was 23 at the time.

He'd served four years in the Navy and had always been an athlete.

Gradually he learned how to do the things he loved, without seeing.

Four years after what could've been nothing more than tragedy, he completed his first triathlon.

The Tallahassee man trains multiple days a week.

Some days, he's in his home office running on a treadmill.

Most other days, he's training outside with his sighted guide, Jamie Hanuka.

Race regulations say Hanuka is a piece of equipment for the blind athlete.

They both say that couldn't be further from the truth.

"If I don't have a guide that can stay with me or has a problem," said Bigoney, "I can't get across the finish line. And my guide really isn't allowed to cross the finish line without me."

"Triathlon is a sport where even though you're racing around a bunch of people, you're still racing by yourself for yourself," said Hanuka. "But working with Dave has really done a great job of taking me outside of myself and working with someone else."

So how does a blind man run on the street or in groups?

He stay tethered to his guide.

A rope is tied around Dave's waist and Jamie holds the other end in his hand.

That way Dave can never stray too far away and he always knows when he's getting too close.

The same is true for swimming.

When they cycle, they ride a tandem bike.

"Dave is a consummate jokester," said Hanuka.

We saw plenty of that during our time with him. Dave will sing at a moment's notice and hop on his son's small bike.

"But when it comes to the things he's passionate about, he's very serious and very focused," continued Hanuka.

One of his passions is Team Vision. It's a seemingly ironic name for the foundation Dave started to help the visually impaired stay active.

"No pun intended, but it's really opened my eyes to a whole different world," said Bigoney. "It's allowed me the opportunity to change lives."

"Just because someone looks at a person and thinks they aren't whole doesn't mean they can't accomplish things," said Hanuka.

That's the message this duo has been peddling, that even without sight, you can still have vision.


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