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We’re pleased to introduce you to fellow ZoomText user, Mitchel Shapiro. When Mitch was diagnosed with Usher’s Syndrome, he could have given up many of the tasks he so loved, falling into a deep depression. After all, Usher’s Syndrome is the leading cause of deaf/blindness; as the disease progresses Mitch will be left completely deaf and blind. However, Mitch’s outlook is extremely positive, declaring that it was “time to stop making excuses for letting obstacles get in my way!”
Back in 1996, Mitch began volunteering for a national eye research organization. In his nine years as a volunteer, he helped raise over a million dollars for medical research and development. Although Mitch promotes studying the causes of hearing and vision loss, he believes in helping the community through a more hands-on approach.
Due to this vision, he developed the Foundation for Sight and Sound, a 501c3 nonprofit organization established in 2004, which strives to improve the quality of life for the hearing and visually challenged.
The Foundation’s most prominent venture is the Help America Hear Program, a national program that gifts hearing aids to men, women, and children of low-income backgrounds. The foundation also provides scholarship opportunities for blind, vision & hearing challenged high school seniors heading to college.
As a motivational speaker, Mitch shares his life story through an interactive presentation, motivating others to move forward instead of being held back. He challenges audiences with his thought-provoking insight. Despite his own disabilities, he proves that dedication and passion will always supersede physical adversity. Mitch encourages his listeners to “see” past obstacles and advocates a no-procrastination mindset, taking action to achieve personal and professional growth.
His interactive program helps audience participants to develop sensitivity to others by having them experience his world of limited sight and sound. From here, he goes onward to explore health, teamwork, understanding the needs of customers, building relationships and overcoming procrastination. Mitch believes that we must follow our dreams, challenge ourselves to do it all and be the best we can be.
To prove his point, Mitch challenges himself to do things, within reason of course; to do the things many people can’t imagine doing. This includes zip lining, rappelling down 6 to 12 story buildings, riding a tandem bike over very long distances (100 miles!), and his newest challenge, stand up comedy!
He is a strong supporter of volunteerism. Mitch believes in the value of helping without the expectation of personal gain. His personal philosophy is to always lead with example, kindness, and integrity.
Mitch is a Long Island native. He lives and works from his home in Smithtown. He has been using ZoomText since 1996. Mitch states, “I feel this is a superior product and recommend it to everyone suffering from vision loss and who uses a computer. In reality, I don’t know how I’d function personally or professionally without ZoomText!”
He has received numerous accolades from the Long Island community: In 2000-2001, the Association of Fundraising Professionals recognized him as “Outstanding Volunteer of the Year.” In 2009, he was inducted into the Long Island Volunteer Hall of Fame. Mitch is a member of the Suffolk County Disability Advisory Board, Toastmasters International, as well as the Smithtown Rotary.
Learn more about Mitch’s comedy and motivational speaking, visit his foundation’s website, or you can email him directly at .