Trevor Thomas - The Blind Hiker Who Scales Mountains
By Valerie Nash, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International
Over the past few weeks I have been inspired and humbled by the incredible fortitude and personal triumphs of the Rio Paralympian's - their courageous achievements are a true testament to the power of the human spirit and human potential.
A less well-known legend who epitomises the power of the human spirit for me is the blind hiker Trevor Thomas. In his thirties, due to a rare eye condition, he lost his sight within a period of 8 months and he subsequently became very angry and depressed.
A friend suggested that he should try getting out into nature, as he had so enjoyed this previously. Mr Thomas found however, that if he wanted to venture further afield, he was totally reliant on others. After the disappointment of yet another cancellation, Mr Thomas chose to discover how he could increase his independence, and he approached Guide Dogs for the Blind:
"Had I waited for my anger to subside, I feel that things would be dramatically different for me. I fear that I would be yet another blind person, who society had convinced that blindness is a life-ending condition and any hopes and dreams I had left would have been quashed."
Trevor Thomas has hiked more than 6,000 miles of America’s most treacherous back country and mountain trails, sometimes alone, with another hiker and latterly with the first ever trained guide dog for the blind, that guides on long distance hiking, as well as in towns.
“When I reach the end of a trail I remember how it feels. I feel the stones under my feet. I remember the smells, the sounds and the effort I made to get there.”
Life is full of twists and turns, and ups and downs...life events that pull the rug from under our feet... and it can feel as though we will never recover. Failed relationships or businesses, incapacitating injuries, death of a loved one...the list goes on - it is part of our human journey. At these times we may be fortunate to have the support of friends and family - we may not.
However, within each of us, there is a goldmine of human potential that can be excavated in times of need, as well demonstrated by Trevor Thomas.
Trevor is interviewed on the World Service here: