Visual impairment : Macular Degeneration
Born: January 22 1952
Joan Brock is a woman who believes in herself. And the world believes in her too. A belief that has helped her in achieving extraordinary personal goals, overcoming significant hardships in life.
At the age of 32, a rare eye disease took away Brock's eyesight. It was caused due to an auto immune deficiency that attacked her retina and within three weeks Joan became blind. At that time Joan worked as a teacher of the blind students at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School.
Five years later while she was still learning to cope up with her condition and was coming to terms with her blindness, Joan lost her husband to a rare form of cancer. She was then left alone to raise her eight year old daughter as a blind and a single parent. While many would not have the strength to go on, Joan came out of this tragedy with courage, perseverance and acceptance. Her husband's death forced her to accept her blindness and let go of her last bits of denial. She became determined to maintain her independence, raise her daughter and put her life together.
With her inner strength and with the support of her family, friends and co-workers, Joan was able to change her adversities into personal triumph.
In spite of setbacks, she has several inspirational stories to share. Today Joan speaks with confidence and motivates people to never lose hope. She speaks with simplicity and emotion. Joan's speeches are based on her own experiences, when she had to re-evaluate and transform her life to the changed circumstances of living without sight.
She adapts the painful details of her own misfortunes into different situations. Joan encourages her listeners to find new ways to be productive, which brings them happiness and a sense of accomplishment. With thought provoking insights to moving on with life, Joan delivers not only to people with visual impairment but also helps and inspires people at corporate conventions and other large gatherings. She helps organisations to see corporate challenges with positive perspective.
Today, Joan Brock is a much sought-after speaker both nationally and internationally. Her ability to captivate the audience by her positive energy and enthusiasm has won her wide acclaim. Joan was named the National Spokesperson of the year 2000 for 'Prevent Blindness America', a non-profit organisation dedicated to eye health, safety, training and research.
Her inspiring autobiography titled "More than Meets The Eye", has been translated into several languages and is also a Readers Digest condensed book. In the year 2003, her amazing life story was portrayed in Lifetime Television Network movie titled 'More than meets the eye: The Joan Brock story.
Joan is a pleasing personality, who has chosen to be happy. She has remarried her high scool classmate, Jim Brock. Joan is now again leading a positive and productive life. Being a preacher's daughter, it was her faith that helped her to accept the sudden loss of sight. She now feels, being blind is a humbling experience and every time she trips or runs into a cupboard door she feels humbled once again. Grateful to God, for making her go through the difficult times, Joan has a deep appreciation for all that she experiences through the day.
While narrating the ups and downs of her life many times over the years, Brock urges the audience not to pity her. Instead, she encourages them to tap their own inner strength and face the challenges of life with a smile. She explains "If you remain bitter, it wouldn't get better".
People do respond positively to her up-lifting stories. She has been successful in making a difference in the lives of many who had given up.
A confident Joan Brock has a strong message for all. She says, "I want to be a blind person in the world, and I have a responsibility to show to people that, blind people aren't any better or any worse than anyone else."