Danny Grimes, a junior at Iowa West High School, just celebrated his 18th birthday in April, and he celebrated in a daring way.
Unlike many of his classmates, Grimes is blind, but that did not stop him from “diving” right into his bucket list.
As one of his birthday wishes, Grimes jumped out of a plane from 10,000 feet in the air and crossed skydiving off his bucket list. Talk about starting your adult life off with an adventure! A common bucket list activity, skydiving is an adventurous thrill for anyone. Imagine flying 10,000 feet high in a small plane, strapping on your harness and helmet and jumping into the open sky with only a parachute to guide you to your landing.
While first time skydivers are strapped to an instructor or guide, not many individuals are brave enough to face the exhilaration of it all. However, for Grimes, the excitement of diving out of a plane symbolized so much more than simply facing his fears. He wanted to prove a point, and prove a point he did. According to CBS2Iowa, Grimes said:
“It’s not about skydiving. People with vision impairments just need to know that they can do anything. That nothing can stop them.”
Grimes is not letting the fact that he is blind stop him from accomplishing his goals and dreams. Checking skydiving off the bucket list is just a small check off the list. In fact, the bucket list is still in the works. The creation of his bucket list is more like a set of goals for Grimes. He aims to inspire others with vision impairments to achieve their dreams and not feel held back by their lack of vision. Grimes believes that those with vision impairments can accomplish almost anything, along with those who do not suffer from the disability.
He believes that when if you try to achieve your dreams, you may just make them reality. He certainly did when he went skydiving. Grimes states that, with the support of those without vision impairments, the hard-of-seeing can accomplish anything they set their mind to, skydiving included. Outside of skydiving, Grimes has accomplished other goals on his bucket list, including coming together with other vision-impaired students to build a robot.
He plans to return home to Ethiopia soon for a couple months to work with others who have disabilities. His goal is to help remove the education barriers they run into. Someday, Grimes would like to take on education as a career, something Grimes believes is extremely possible with his vision impairment. Vision impairments, including blindness can happen to anyone, at any point in their life.
Grimes believes in treating vision impairments not as a burden but as an inspirational way of life.
He aims to prove that people with vision impairments can achieve anything. Grimes’ vision impairment has led him further into accomplishing his dreams. As he began his ascent upwards in the plane, with his parachute and helmet, he surely was not thinking about how his vision impairment creates a burden. No, Grimes thought about his goals and aspirations, and how skydiving was just the beginning of a life-long adventure.