I was 15 years old.
Then the cancer moved into my optic nerves, causing me to lose my sight.
Hey, my name is Timothy Conners.
While cancer took my sight, I will never allow it to take my VISION.
It was a sunny July morning near Golden, Colorado, and I staggered unsteadily across
a rope suspension bridge.
MakeAWish had made my dream come true. I was hiking with my hero, blind
adventurer, Erik Weihenmayer.
Back to the bridge.
Erik was several feet ahead. Grasping for hand rails I knew weren’t there, my hands
settled on the tether connected to my harness. I bent my shaky knees, trying to get my
bearings in order to take another step.
But then Erik threw a curveball.
He jumped up and down, shaking the bridge and laughing. “Hey, Tim, want to jump up
and down with me,” he yelled?
Yikes, I thought, bending my knees more deeply. This was way out of my comfort zone.
For starters, I was from Upstate New York, more than a thousand miles away. My legs
weren’t as strong as they used to be when I was playing football and wrestling my
Freshman year, because I’d been wearing leg braces.
Oh yeah, and I was blind! All of this was the result of what started as sinus and
breathing problems, and ended with a diagnosis of cancer which required a bone
marrow transplant. All before my junior year in high school.
But then I forced my chin up, stood tall on the rope bridge, and began laughing loudly.
That experience was the beginning of a long journey that changed my destiny, that
made me understand I could do anything, that helped me see my future and find my
Since then, I’ve accomplished a lot of things I once thought were impossible.
Like a trip into the Grand Canyon with No Barriers Youth, in which I rafted huge white
water rapids, made new friends, and explored what a “No Barriers Life” really means for
me. On the last night, I sat on the beach, running my hands through the fine sand and
listening to the ripple of the river. I thought about where I was and what had come of
Cancer had taken a lot away from me. But it had also helped me formulate who I
wanted to be. That night sitting in the sand, I realized that vision had nothing to do with
how well you can see. It was about illuminating what was inside of me.
“What’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way.”
The next day, we hiked out of the canyon together: 9 1⁄2 miles in thirteen hours.
When I emerged at the top, I felt like I had become a man.
Since then I graduated from high school, 7th in my class of 287 students, with 21
college credits, on time, despite missing an entire year of school when I was in isolation
after the bone marrow transplant.
Now my journey is reaching new heights. In 2017, I’m aiming to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.
I’ll be raising awareness and over $500,000 for organizations (like MakeAWish) that
provide a support system and make dreams come true for families struggling with
I believe we can move mountains, if we move them together.
See you at the top!
Want to help me move mountains and be part of making the impossible, possible?