Kristin holds a BS degree in Elementary Education and planned to be a great, a really great, third grade teacher… but her personal path to greatness took an unexpected turn when two of her three children were diagnosed as blind. She quickly had to learn all of the tools of blindness and get them into the hands of her sons. She also had to build a team of experts that would help her navigate this path that she had not been trained for. Her team included those in the medical field, special education, and teachers of the visually impaired to name a few.
The systems Kristin has put in place for her boys have worked to great success thus far. Her boys have achieved great things in blind skills as well as in the sighted world with highlights including baseball championships on “sighted” neighborhood teams, Distinguished Honors in “regular” public school, and finalists in an International Braille competition. Her boys are role models for blind children and inspirations to countless people.
In 2009, just as Kristin’s family was thriving in spite of the challenges of blindness, researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia made a huge breakthrough with gene therapy for retinal diseases. By 2011, Kristin coordinated a new team: one that is changing the path of her boys and thousands of others… from blindness to sight. Kristin leads the Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation as the Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board collaborate to find and fund the best scientific projects to advance CRB1 blindness to treatments and cures.
THE TRANSFORMATIONAL DISCUSSION
In 2015, Kristin launched SMEDtalk, built on the same concept of the popular TED Talks, a conversational style presentation that provides concrete examples of how one can embrace challenges and move on to greatness. The objective is not to remove the challenge that is put in one’s path, but to utilize techniques Kristin discusses, techniques she has used in her own journey, to create a path of resourcefulness and purposefulness to achieve greatness. Kristin uses honesty, engaging true stories, and a healthy dose of humor to prove her theory of how to thrive despite setbacks. At times, one or both of her blind sons accompany Kristin to reinforce her points… and their wit and charm are always a hit!