Inspirational Speaker and 2010 Blind Golf World Champion, Jeremy Poincenot, encouraged students to live each day to fullest.
Poincenot, 23, presented at a trilogy event put on by Inter Fraternity Council (IFC), on Feb. 18 in Grey Chapel.
Poinecent lost his sight within two months by the age of 19 due to a rare genetic disorder called Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). At the time, Pincenot was a sophomore at San Diego State University.
Pincenot decided to take time off school after hearing the devastating news.
After months of being depressed and not wanting to go back to San Diego State, one of Poincent’s Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity brothers, Josh, called Poincenot and told him he would take classes with him and help guide him through his new dark world.
Poincenot decided to take Josh up on his offer.
“What Josh did for me was monumental,” said Poincenot, who graduated in May 2013.
After returning to school, Poincenot was determined to help others who were suffering for the disease.
He began C.U.R.E., a bicycle ride fundraiser and over the past five years the annual bike trip has raised over $125,000 for the cause.
“I determine my happiness,” he said. “Don’t let others determine your happiness.”
Since his diagnosis, Poincenot has been featured on MTV’s “True Life” documentary series, traveled to places such as China and Japan to raise awareness of LHON and won the Blind Golf World Championships in 2010 with his father as his caddy.
Coming to OWU
Poincenot’s appearance at OWU was made possible after he reached out to his fellow Sigma Phi Epsilon President, junior Sam Abbott, about coming to campus.
Abbott was then inspired to present the idea of making Poincenot a speaker for an IFC trilogy event.
“After seeing how amazing his story was and how charismatic he was when speaking, I immediately thought that he would be a tremendous person to bring in for a possible trilogy event for our Greek community,” Abbott said.
“I told him that I would present the idea to IFC as a possible trilogy event.”
Residential Life Coordinator Levi Harrel said that IFC was eager to have a fraternity man share an important message with other Greek life members.
“Being a fraternity man is more than being part of a campus organization, it is a commitment to growing with understanding others, and Jeremy’s message was just that,” Harrel said.
“The time, effort, and dedication in making this event successful speaks highly to the character of the fraternity men who were vital in bringing this event to campus and demonstrates their roles as campus leaders and highlights their commitment to the fraternity and sorority community here at OWU.”
Harrel said he enjoyed Poincenot’s sense of humor and a Plato quote he continued to reference throughout his presentation, “Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Abbott said he enjoyed the question and answer session at the end of the presentation and the story of Jeremy playing the Blind Golf National Championships.
“He shared his story when he competed at the National Championships when he was paired with a short old man named John Casolo,” said Abbott.
“John shot a 324, and Jeremy shot a 97. It was eye opening when Jeremy said he was pissed after the round and John was happy and said that he had a great time playing with Jeremy.”