Paul’s story

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I’m Paul Appleyard and I am a part time blogger with Stargardt’s Disease who loves to encourage others to aim high and chase their dreams — especially visually impaired people. I am really excited to join the Stargardt’s Connected team and add my two-pennyworth as someone who has had Stargardt’s since 1979.

If you can indulge me for a few moments I’d love to fill you in on how I got to where I am now.

At the age of 11 I was diagnosed with Bi-lateral Macular Dystrophy more specifically now known as Stargardt’s Disease which in simple terms means I have a degenerative condition that affects central vision. I don’t have much at all but I do have some useful peripheral vision. But that‘s not going to stop me doing what I want to do, right?

I entered a career of almost two decades in financial services attaining a Post Graduate Diploma in Personnel and Development. I have been an adviser to The UK’s Minister for Disabled People on disability and employment issues. I have been Group Diversity Manager for a major bank and also Assistant Director of a major disability charity.

Then, at the age of 38, I semi-retired and relished the opportunity to pursue an alternative part time career as a Life/Performance Coach and to chase my dream of becoming a great golfer.

OK, so I became World Champ but then what? Well the logical thing for me was to tell my story and share the tricks and tools used along the way to achieve success, so my small motivational speaking business ‘Don’t Wait For Luck’ was born. Why ‘Don’t Wait For Luck’? Two reasons really.

  1. My inspiration and drive to become a World Champion golfer came, in part, from the lyric of a song: ‘You can be a master, don’t wait for luck’ dedicate yourself and you can find yourself standing in the hall of fame’
  2. My second reason is that I actually don’t believe in luck! It doesn’t exist, I believe you create your own path in life.

OK, I glossed over it a little a few paragraphs back. In mid May 2014 I became Triple World Champion Visually Impaired Golfer!  A MASSIVE life goal. You see, everyone has different barriers in their lives that can either stop us in our tracks or they are manoeuvred around or smashed down totally! One of my main barriers is that I don’t see too well, but it doesn’t stop me playing ‘hitty sticks’ as my wife calls it!

There are many levels of blindness and I feel fortunate and grateful that mine is less severe than some of my friends. I hate stereotypes however I do have the stereotypical dark glasses. In fact they’re the inspiration for my Team Blind Apple logo.

While doing Don’t Wait For Luck (DWFL) part time I also continued playing golf and preparing to defend my World Titles which I am delighted to say I did in Japan and then promptly retired undefeated from blind golf. Now my wife and I have both fully retired and we travel extensively – world pandemics permitting – in our American RV Motorhome.

When I can I find time to write posts on my blog page offering suggestions on dealing with various things with a visual impairment. Come take a look anytime.        

I don’t pretend to be any type of guru on visual impairments, but I’ve had mine over 40 years and I am delighted to be able to share some of the experience I’ve gained along the way with the Stargardt’s Connected family.