Denver Chapter Featured Volunteer
Miranda Loughry is an honor student at St. Mary's Academy in Englewood, Colorado. She is a champion Irish Dancer who competes in both solo dances and on a figure choreography team with other dancers. She enjoys mentoring the youngest dancers who admire her greatly. Miranda loves playing her guitar and is mastering flamenco, finger style, and Celtic music. She aspires to study linguistics and anthropology in college--that is if she decides not to pursue developmental genetics.
Miranda also happens to have a genetic condition known as Stargardt, a form of juvenile macular degeneration that is caused by a gene mutation. Diagnosed at age 10 when she could not make out the big "E" on the eye charts, Miranda's vision quickly went from 20/60 to 20/200--legally blind. Light sensitivity gradually became so severe that, now, Miranda can't be without her sunglasses, even when she's competing and dancing on stage. Stargardt affects the central vision, so while Miranda can't make out faces, she is able to navigate without mobility aids such as a cane or a guide dog. She uses assistive technology as sophisticated as CCTVs and screen readers and as simple as a dome magnifier or large print to help her with her studies.
Miranda has been involved with the Colorado VisionWalk for several years, and co-captains her own team, "Miranda Means Miracle" pictured here at the 2015 Colorado VisionWalk.
In addition, the Loughry family sponsors the "Sunglasses Special" at the McTeggart Fall Feis (Irish Dance Competition), a category where all the dancers are asked to wear and dance with fun sunglasses, in support of Miranda. 100% of the entry fees go directly to Miranda's VisionWalk Team.
A story about Miranda, her dance troupe and their support of Foundation Fighting Blindness (“Dancing For Sight”) was recently featured in the online version of an international Irish Dance Magazine.
According to Miranda, “Stargardt is not a disability, it is an inconvenience. Blindness builds my character and makes me stronger and more empathetic.” Perhaps we can add: more thoughtful and an inspiration to others of her age! Stargardt will not stop Miranda Loughry from achieving her dreams and having a wonderful, full life!
IDM – Dancing for Sight January 2016
Link to Miranda and the Dance Troupe at the 2015 Colorado VisionWalk
Link to Miranda Dancing at the 2014 Colorado VisionWalk
Link to Miranda and Carmen Swick (Chapter President) on ABC News: