Martinsville blind woman attending college, hopeful to inspire others

MARTINSVILLE, TX (KTRE) - At the young age of two Krista Akridge was diagnosed with a genetic disorder causing her to go blind. The now 20-year-old may be blind but that doesn't stop her from polishing her own nails and cooking her own meals. She's now in college and hoping to be an example for others lacking visual perception.

At the age of two Krista Akridge's parents noticed she was always sitting too close to the TV.

"I told them I couldn't see it and that's when they took me to the doctor," Akridge said. "They found out I have tumors on my optic nerve, and they classified that as neurofibromatosis type two."

The past few generations before Akridge had been diagnosed with type 1, but Akridge said she is the only one who has lost her vision due to the genetic disorder.

From the age of two to eight she would travel back and forth to Houston for chemotherapy and different surgeries in hopes of her vision coming back.

"They fixed it to where I could see dark light and shadows out of my left eye," Akridge said.

But that wasn't enough to help her keep up with her work while attending school in Martinsville.

"Here at the school they would always say this is too visual for you and the teacher I had would only come once a week to translate my work, so I would always be behind in my class," Akridge said.

In 2006, Akridge said she and her parents decided it would be best for her to go to the school for the blind in Austin since she was so far behind in her school work.

"I knew I wouldn't graduate well here at Martinsville," Akridge said.

Her mother said attending school in Austin helped her to be more independent than they could ever imagine.

"I learned how to cook when I was 11 there," Akridge said.

In 2011, Akridge graduated fourth in her class at the blind school. The 20-year-old is now attending college on-line and couldn't be happier.

"I'm going to school for computers," Akridge said. "I love working with computers."

Her passion sparked from helping students with their braille computers.

"I would just always love helping the other people when they had issues with their computers," Akridge said.

As Akridge has become more independent over the years she's hopeful taking the next step on her education journey will inspire others.

"I'm going to college so I can get a job," Akridge said. "There's 75 percent of blind people unemployed right now, so I'm doing that so I can show blind people can do something."

Akridge plans to graduate in 2017 and said she's never doubted herself despite others seeing her visual impairment as a setback.

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