Diagnosed at age three with Retinitis Pigmentosa, Erich Manser learned early that he was facing a gradual loss of eyesight eventually leading to total blindness. He forever thanks his Mom for setting the example of staying tough & staying positive, despite adversity. From a young age, Erich proved himself an outstanding athlete with a bright future in competitive sports. He still holds a local (MA) swim record that has endured for nearly 20 years! Ai Squared is a proud sponsor of Erich’s quest to represent the United States in the 2012 Paralympic Games – in the image, you’ll see Erich on the right standing next to his guide Erik Dellasanta, both donning ZoomText gear. Though Erich didn’t make the cut for the Paralympic Swimming Team, his spirit is not diminished as he looks ahead. Missing getting a slot on the 2012 Team has shifted his focus back to Paratriathlon – he plans to complete a Full Ironman in 2013 (2.4 miles swimming, 112 miles biking, and 26.2 miles running…wow) and try for a spot on the Paratriathlon Olympic Team in Rio in 2016. He’s already had a great start to the 2012 racing season already – last month at Tri Quonset in Rhode Island, he won his division, and got 8th place overall.
“I am genuinely thrilled that there is such amazing talent out there representing blind & visually-impaired athletes,” says Erich, “Three very-deserving kids are heading to London and at 39, it was just such an honor to still be ‘mixing it up’ with them!” Join us in wishing all the Paralympians the best as the Games open tonight in London.
Erich has relied on his can-do attitude as the driving force which gets him out there taking risks, yet at the same time, he understands the value of playing to one’s strengths and accentuating abilities. Using his platform as a top performing Paratriathlete, Erich is on a mission to inspire future generations to make their vision for success a reality.
When Erich isn’t out there training and racing to be the best paratriathlete he can be, he’s busy having a successful career at a Fortune 50 company. At work, Erich noticed that ZoomText was repeatedly & overwhelmingly cited as THE #1 solution for the visually impaired, further cementing his suspicion that he was using the wrong tool. “I can immediately recognize & appreciate the value of things like xFont and the new Camera feature that was included in release 10,” says Erich. “Right off the bat, I definitely find using ZoomText to be more naturally intuitive, navigating the tool & menus. Though there’s always some degree of “learning curve” with any new technology, it’s clearly less dramatic starting out with ZoomText. It was the right time to try this product about which I’ve heard such good things!”
While Erich is relatively new to ZoomText, he has been using ZoomReader for quite some time. “ZoomReader has been great, because so much of my pride in traveling the country racing and on business comes from my ability to do-so independently and in a manner which changes perceptions about what’s possible for people with disabilities,” states Erich. “Being able to read my boarding pass or order from a finely-printed menu in a darkened restaurant just means fewer times I need to ask strangers for help (even though they’re always wonderful about helping, it’s nice to be able to do it myself!). Tools like the iPhone and ZoomReader have absolutely “changed the game” for people who are visually-impaired, opening a world of new possibilities.”
Join us in wishing Erich the best as he seeks to become the next Paralympic champion and share his message of what vision can do for a blind athlete. If you’d like to know more about Erich and keep tabs on all that he’s up to, head on over to his blog.