Going Blind: President of East Campus National Society of Leadership and Success Shares Personal Story


Jessica Brown

Isaiah Peters

Imagine hearing the news you are probably never going to see again, now imagine hearing that at 19 years old. The president of the East Campus National Society of Leadership and Success is slowly going blind.

Jessica Brown, 20, was diagnosed with degenerative myopia last year and has now taken to an adjusted life of using a cane, and seeing less, all while maintaining an optimistic smile, and hope for the future.

According to the Macula Vision Reasearch Foundation, “highly myopic eyes are also liable to loss vision from cataract and glaucoma. They have an increased vulnerability to the damage effects of eye trauma, which must include the higher incidence of complications in some ophthalmic surgical procedures.” In other words, Brown has severe nearsightedness.

Brown has truly exemplified resilience during the process of accepting this frightening time. Brown told us how she initially got involved in the National Society of Leaderships and Success.

“I had received a mass email that was sent to more than 500 students from the president of the national organization seeking to expand the group local college campuses in becoming a leader in NSLS. Once I had gotten more information on it, I realized this is something I want to lead, a national leadership society for young people interested in becoming emerging leaders. I had found out it is very new to the college and would be starting in the spring semester” Brown said.

As a new organization, as of the Spring Semester of 2017, the original attendance expectations weren’t set high.

“There’s always going to be our ups and downs. One week we had two people and eventually we grew,” Brown said. By the end of February there was a room filled with at least 35 people.

Brown attributes this success, as well as her optimistic outlook, to her faith.

“Family. Friends. God. People ask me how can I turn to God? And I just say maybe he’s taking this sight so I can see something else. My parents are reverends. God’s a very important aspect of my life. Knowing that god’s there for me is a big thing,” said Brown.

Brown stated the probable timeline of when she will likely become blind.

“They said it’s going to be a gradual shift, I do have times I can’t see out of my right eye. It’s not for long periods but it scares me because its random” said Brown.

Despite rapid technology advancements, Brown is still not a candidate for certain treatments.

“There are surgeries but I’m still considered too young. Though my eye sight is bad they are too healthy for the surgery, because it’s not the eye itself, it’s just the pupil and the retina, but the eye itself will get effected because my eye is too healthy. There are certain things I’d love to see such as my soon to be nephew. If I see I see, if I don’t I don’t” said Brown.