Monday, December 11, 2017

A Bicycle Wreck, “Night Court,” and Puppy Mills

When I was 12 years old, I broke my hand and knocked my front teeth out in a bicycle wreck at the foot of the hill near our home.  The gas company cut a trench across the street and left it open for longer than necessary without adequately patching the asphalt.  My front bicycle tire hit it just right to send me flying over the handlebars.

After several months of mom’s argument with the gas company, they accepted liability and awarded a small settlement to be placed in a trust for my future.  As it turned out it was a good thing, as my front teeth eventually suffered greatly from the trauma.  When my mom and I were asked to come to court to receive the monetary settlement, the judge had a chat with me regarding my future aspirations.  I never hesitated when I told him, “I want to be an attorney.”  He was a bit amused but further queried me, “Why do you want to be an attorney?”  My response?  “Because I’ve watched every episode of Night Court!”

I was only 12 and not trying to be disrespectful to the judge, just truthful.  I’d always known what I wanted to be and do—at least starting at about age 6 or 7.  I think it began with a documentary I saw on TV about puppy mills.  I was so distraught about the inhumane treatment of the animals that I lost sleep for weeks and cried about it endlessly.  I felt, without knowing how to identify it, the sense of advocacy within me—even at that young age.  The injustice meted out on those puppies still affects me today.

So, Judge Harry Stone and Judge Steve Daniel:  I wasn’t kidding.  I did it.  Thanks for the parts you played in my journey.

#advocacy  #puppymills  #attorney  #nightcourt

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Fred Scheigert Scholarship from CCLVI

A graduate of Belmont University College of Law, attorney Bianca Catherine Knight advocates for the right of others who have disabilities. In addition to this, Bianca Catherine Knight serves on the board of directors for the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI) and as a chairperson on the Fred Scheigert Scholarship Committee.

The Fred Scheigert Scholarship is provided by the CCLVI, an advocacy membership organization, to three students every year. It is a competitive scholarship for full-time college students who have low vision and provides each recipient with $3,000.

To apply for the scholarships, students must fill out an online application and provide documentation that proves they meet the scholarship’s academic and visual acuity guidelines. Eligible students must be enrolled in at least 12 undergraduate or nine graduate units at a college, vocational, or trade school for the upcoming academic year. They must also have a grade point average of at least 3.2.

In terms of vision requirements, applicants must have at least 20/70 vision in their better eye with possible correction or have a restricted field of vision that is no larger than 30 degrees. Students who have less vision and still benefit from using low vision devices during their daily lives may also be eligible for the Fred Scheigert Scholarship.

When applying, applicants must submit two professional or academic letters of recommendation. These letters will be accepted through the CCLVI website or via a Word document with signature attached to an email. Applicants must also provide a copy of the transcript from the school they most recently attended or are currently enrolled in. If students are attending a new school for the next academic year, they must submit a letter of acceptance from the institution.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Merle Haggard, December, and Dad

It’s December 1st and I’m really a true blue Elvis fan, but at the moment a Merle Haggard song is in my head swirling around there with Dad who was a true blue Merle fan:

     “If we make it through December
      Everything’s gonna be all right, I know
      It’s the coldest time of winter
      And I shiver when I see the falling snow

      If we make it through December
      Got plans to be in a warmer town come summertime
      Maybe even California
      If we make it through December, we’ll be fine.”

I lost my dad to cancer in 2006; he was only 52.  I lost my sight in 2008; I was only 28.  Dad did not live to see me overcome that horrific ordeal.  He never even knew I was struck with LHON.  He didn’t know I graduated with honors from Belmont University College of Law and that I’m an attorney.  He missed my marriage and the birth of his precious granddaughter.

Dad’s December was his cancer suffering that is all over now.  All gone.  No more pain.

My December lasted almost two years after I first lost my sight.  Eventually I grew into a new life of acceptance and strength.

We made it through our Decembers, Merle, Yes: Everything’s gonna be all right, I know.

#merlehaggard  #LHON  #lebershereditaryopticneuropathy