RP: The Struggle and Success
by Nick Ackerman

My name is Nick Ackerman and I was born and raised in Canton, Ohio. When I was 3 years old my parents noticed I might need glasses because I kept bumping into things. When I was checked for glasses, the presence of RP was also discovered. Though I wore glasses, the only difficulty I had as a young child with my eyes was my night vision. It prevented me from playing games at night and made walking around in poorly lit areas extremely difficult for me. As I reached my teenage years, the affects of RP really began to sink
in. The night blindness prevented me from going to parties, dances, even my senior prom. What made things more difficult for me was I felt and acted normal during the day time because I could see and drive a car perfectly. As the dreaded nightfall came, I felt like a different person, ashamed and even embarrassed at times.

I continued to feel the impact RP was having on my life when I began working. It was tough, and still is, finding a job where I could be able to leave work before night time so I have enough daylight to drive home. When I was 20, I was fired on Christmas Eve from a job because the company said it was an inconvenience to them for me to leave work early before dark. Dating was also very hard in my early twenties because people at that age like to go to clubs and bars where, for me, was like putting on a blind fold before you entered the place it was so dark.

I continued working many different jobs and began going to college part time. Then in 2000 I met my wife, Debbie. She has really changed my life and has taken away the embarrassment and shame I once felt. At this point in my life I am thinking about the future of my life and vision. I'm trying to cope with the fact that one day I will completely lose my vision. For now I'm not at that point because I still am able to drive short distances. However, I'm not sure how much longer I will be able to drive because I have over the years noticed a minimal amount of side vision loss. This upsets me because one of my biggest passion in life is driving and working on cars. That
brings me to the reason why I am writing this story. After reading other peoples stories I began to realize that life shouldn't revolve around RP. We must put aside our fears and sadness and concentrate on things that really mean something. For me that's my wife. I also feel that a cure will be found for people with RP. Thank you for reading my story.
Nick Ackerman

If you would like to have your story listed, please email me at rpmail@jwen.com

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Page Created 8/17/02