PERRYVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Imagine how difficult it would be to cycle across the country, now imagine doing that if you were blind. A woman from Texas is doing just that to show that you don’t need to see to succeed. Shawn Cheshire is an army veteran, a former paramedic, and a member of the blind and visually impaired community. Cheshire isn’t alone on her nearly 4,000 mile journey. She’s traveling with a friend to help guide her with sound and song.
“Our helmets have two way radios so he’s constantly talking and on the back of his bike is a big JBL speaker so there’s music constantly playing so its kind of like echo location so I always know where he is and if I can’t hear that I stop,” explains Cheshire.
On May 17th, Cheshire started her ride in Florence, Oregon. This week she biked through our neck of the woods in Kentucky. By July 15th, Cheshire hopes to reach her final destination in virginia beach, 3,900 miles later. It seems like an exhausting and difficult bike ride, yet she says there’s a purpose behind all that peddling.
“I really want to break social norms one of the things I have struggled with as a blind person in the blind community is these thought processes of what people can and can’t do,” says Cheshire.
Cheshire tells ABC 36 that she didn’t decide to make an effort to put the breaks on those social norms until she became blind herself in 2009. Back then she was a paramedic and sustained a brain injury while working in the back of an ambulance. She says she doesn’t remember what happened that day. What she does remember is waking up with total loss of vision.
“I struggled hard core in the beginning. I really had to make a decision to help myself. So I could give up and live a different type of life or I could become someone I could be proud of,” says Cheshire.
As she completes this cross country ride, she hopes to show others that visually impaired people can accomplish what others might believe to be impossible.