The Braille Monitor                                                                                               May, 2002

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From Erik's E-mail

From the Editor: During the course of his preparing for and executing the climbs of Ama Dablam and Mt. Everest, I got to know Erik Weihenmayer and members of his team pretty well. As the world has come to know, they are remarkable people, and they have done a great deal to inspire blind and sighted people alike. I shake my head in bemusement when I read comments from the disenchanted handful who grumble that as blind people they are tired of hearing about Erik Weihenmayer because now people will expect them to climb mountains, or, if they are sighted, they resent the possibility that blind people will begin demanding that they be allowed to endanger themselves and everybody else doing silly stunts or generally trying to do things that everyone knows a blind person can't do.

Because Erik has gotten to know me, he has occasionally passed along an e-mail plea for help that he thinks the NFB can give. I then write to the person and put him or her in touch with NFB members in the area and see to it that appropriate literature is sent. I know firsthand just how much good Erik continues to do with his message of hope and his outreach to the world.

Last November Erik's father sent me a different sort of e-mail letter that he thought I would be interested in reading. It too demonstrates the impact Erik has on the lives of Americans and, I suspect, people around the world. Here is the letter:

November 8, 2001

Dear Erik,

My name is Zachary, and I am eight years old. In school I had to do a speech on my hero, and I picked you. We did our speeches as a human wax museum. I had to do my speech as if I were you. I picked you because, when my family went to Disneyland in July, I saw you climb the Matterhorn with Mickey Mouse, and I had to learn more about your climbs. When I started researching all that you had done, I began to be inspired by you. You have done more in your life than anyone can imagine. You are my hero because you didn't let anything stand in your way. You knew what you wanted, and you went for it. I hope when I grow up I can have the same strength that you have. I may not be blind, but I can still use strength.

Thank you for everything,

Zachary

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