I Can Inspire – Aaron’s story

Aaron campaign poster – Large image of Aaron on the right hand side, standing smiling with his arms crossed. On the left hand side there are the words “I Can inspire”

I Can Inspire – Aaron’s story

 

Aaron Rees, 30, from Swansea, has been chosen as one of the faces of The Royal National College for the Blind’s (RNC) national ‘I Can’ campaign.Aaron is standing beside student James, as James sits on the bike in the gym. Aaron is pointing at the screen and guiding James through his programme.

The campaign aims to challenge public perceptions of blindness by focusing on the achievements of people with a visual impairment.

Aaron teaches at RNC, where empathy and understanding are key tools when working with his students. Like them, he has a visual impairment, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), and can relate to their experiences.

“In the past, students may have been told they can’t do things because of their visual impairment; I’m living proof that is simply not true,” stated Aaron.

As part of the campaign some of Aaron’s students have made a short film, in which they talk about the impact Aaron has had on them.

Current trainee, Lloyd Davies, from Pembrokeshire, said: “Aaron’s inspired me to realise that sight loss isn’t a life barrier, it’s just a lifestyle adaption.”

Aaron is one of 30 members of his family diagnosed with RP and was 22 when he was registered as partially sighted. Although he attended mainstream schools, he always knew his sight was not right. Aaron was referred to RNC by his Disability Employment Advisor to find a career that would not be affected by his eyesight in the long term.

“I felt comfortable at RNC straight away and found myself helping others out in the gym; it was just something that came naturally to me,” he recalled.

When he finished his course in sport and fitness he was offered the chance to train as a teacher. Aaron had not thought of teaching before, but his confidence had grown at RNC and he was inspired by other teachers at the College who also have visual impairments. He qualified as a teacher and returned to RNC to instruct on the Sport and Recreation courses.

“I’m lucky enough to come to work every day to a job I love,” he said. “Being able to see students grow in confidence and achieve their ambitions is an amazing feeling. Every day, I teach that if you want something and you’re prepared to work for it, then you can realise your ambitions.”

Aaron’s hope is that he can inspire more students to be the best that they can be.

Watch Aaron’s I Can Inspire video at https://www.rnc.ac.uk/ican/meet-aaron and learn more about RNC’s I Can campaign.

Article written by Anika Backhouse, PR, Publications & Outreach Officer at RNC