Man turns handicap into benefit

Blind athlete and motivational speaker Craig MacFarlane told Carson City Rotarians on Tuesday that he doesn't believe his blindness is a handicap.

"I never want to look at my blindness as a handicap," he said. "To me it has always been a minor inconvenience."

MacFarlane was blinded when he was struck in the eye when he was two years old.

He lost sight in his other eye within six weeks to sympathetic opthalmia.

"Doctors can prevent it now, but they can't cure it," he said.

At 6 years old MacFarlane was sent to the only school for the blind in Canada.

"I was 500 miles from home and I could only visit three times during the year," he said. "I must have been 7. I was sitting in a cold locker room after physical education class, and the phys ed teacher came up to me and said it didn't seem like I was happy there."

That teacher introduced MacFarlane to wrestling, a sport that took him to the Canadian Olympic wrestling team. He competed in wrestling for 11 years.

"It was quite an honor to represent your nation before the world," he said.

MacFarlane told the Rotarians that the key to success is hard work.

"I learned to take those down moments as stepping stones to opportunity," he said.

MacFarlane, speaking to Rotarians during their weekly luncheon, commended the group's service work and said he had spoken to more than 600 Rotary clubs over the last six years.

"I was speaking to the Kiwanis and I called them Rotarians," he said. "Well, they looked like Rotarians to me."

MacFarlane opened with a video that featured his singing and his appearance at the National Republican Convention.

President George Bush appeared in the video, providing an introduction. MacFarlane said he will support George W. Bush for president in the election.

"I aspire to run for office," he said about future goals.

He jokingly said he talked to George W. about being appointed ambassador to Canada.

"God knows they appoint people to do nothing," he said. "I'll do something."

In addition to wrestling, MacFarlane waterskiied for Cypress Gardens, he snow skis and plays golf.

MacFarlane spoke at Western Nevada Community College Tuesday night. His talk was sponsored by the college foundation and Carson City's Edward Jones Office.


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