By Daniel Vance
Dots and dashes changed Zachary Barnum’s life.
This 17-year-old resident of Fredericksburg, Virginia, who is legally blind in one eye due to optic nerve hypoplasia and has a form of bipolar disorder (manic depressive illness), has built his self- confidence and a worldwide social network by learning Morse Code and becoming an amateur radio operator.
Said Barnum over the telephone, “I’m blind in my left eye because the optic nerve is extremely small. In the State of Virginia, I’m considered legally blind. I have the smallest bit of peripheral vision there and very little forward vision. They first discovered it when I was in kindergarten. As I went through middle school, it got worse. It doesn’t affect me too much now because of having grown up with it. It’s not like I just became blind (yesterday).”……..
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