Brian Oglesbee will speak at the June 3 Hoover Rotary Club meeting.
Losing his sight meant Brian Oglesbee had to learn to do a few things differently. He'll share his message at the Hoover Rotary Club's next meeting.
“We’re all capable of doing anything we set our mind to,” Oglesbee said. “We may have to do things differently, but that’s not the point.”
Oglesbee, a teacher in Thomaston, Georgia, was diagnosed with retinoblastoma in both eyes at the age of 2. His right eye was removed, and his left eye received chemo and radiation treatments. At 16, he lost sight in his left eye following cataract surgery.
But he hasn’t let blindness stop him.
“I had things happen to me that I could have just as easily given up and quit, or sat at home … but I chose to take that as a challenge,” he said. “Again, it doesn’t matter how you do it, it’s that you do it. That’s definitely something I preach a lot in the classroom.”
Oglesbee’s message is one of “vision without sight,” discussing the importance of not giving up despite hardships and working to overcome obstacles. In the classroom, Oglesbee encourages students to challenge him and try to come up with something he cannot do. He does this to prove there’s nothing he wants to do that he hasn’t figured out a way to do – except drive.
“That’s the same thing in life,” he said. “Some things we do, we have to struggle with, whether that be struggle to make ends meet and pay bills. There will be other things.”
Oglesbee shares his story to inspire hard work despite hardships, but he didn’t always realize the power behind his message.
“I’m not anybody different. I’m nobody special,” Oglesbee said. “And it hit me, that was the point, that I’m not any different.”
He started talking with local organizations in Thomaston and has grown his audience from there.
“Now I’m just trying to reach as many people as I can in hopes that just one person changes because of that [message],” Oglesbee said.
Oglesbee will speak at the Hoover Rotary Club meeting Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. The club meets at the Hoover Country Club, 3140 Club Drive. Call Terry Turner at 716-3000 for more information.