Friday Friends:

Spotlight on Joy Thomas

Joy and her twin sister both suffer from Retinitis Pigmentosa
Joy and her twin sister both suffer from Retinitis Pigmentosa

Welcome back to the Friday Friends segment of my blog. After a summer hiatus, I’m back with my first fall guest.

I’m honored to introduce Joy Thomas from Naperville, Illinois. She is one of two twins who suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa.

I first met Joy last month when she joined The Christian RP Connection, a Facebook group I help manage. She had posted a video about her journey with RP. I was struck by our similar experiences and personality traits we had in common.

We had both lived in denial of our condition for many years (true, a common theme). But when we faced it, we both decided to open a window to our lives and use it to educate and encourage others about Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). Thus, we had developed similar attitudes.

Best of all, we are both freelance writers!

I love the video clip that Joy posted to our group and couldn’t wait to share it with you! I know it will be a real treat for you to learn about Joy and her sister in this video and to see how they’ve coped with their condition, turning the negatives into something that will help others.

There is just two more days of Blindness Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month. I wanted to be sure to include Joy’s story as I continue to build awareness of how RP, a degenerative vision condition, impacts people’s lives.

Radio Interview for Blindness Awareness Month

Jenelle Landgraf, Joy’s twin sister who also suffers from RP, was featured in a radio interview on October 15 and asked what Blindness Awareness Month meant to her. The interview is about ten minutes long and well-worth the times listening to. Listen to the KOHO Interview.

You can find out more about Joy and her sister on the following links:


You have just read and watched “Friday Friends: Spotlight on Joy Thomas” by Amy L. Bovaird. Copyright October 30, 2015. Don’t forget to take a minute and leave a comment!

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10 thoughts on “Friday Friends: Spotlight on Joy Thomas

  • October 31, 2015 at 10:35 am

    What a beautiful video. I’m impressed by the bravery of your guest–and the determination to succeed.

  • October 31, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    This is great. Love the clips, the interview. She gets so real about blindness. Wonderful stuff.

  • October 31, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Hi Francene,
    Yes, I agree. Joy’s very determined.
    Thank you for your comment!

  • October 31, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Hi Kerry,
    Yes, that’s what struck me, too!
    So glad you liked it!

  • October 31, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Beautiful post. I love the video. It is very inspiring. I know that blind people are not weak. My eyesight is fine with glasses but my night vision is atrocious. One lady that I knew a few years ago, who was totally blind, taught me how to navigate stairs in the dark. I’m not afraid of the stairs at night anymore.
    I have a different disability that affects my ability to make sense of sound. I cannot filter out background noise and everything sounds super loud to me. Also, I have sensory processing disorder so I get overwhelmed by too much sensory input. Yes, I felt a lot of shame about that. I thought that I was overstimulated because I was weak and had a bad attitude. I thought that everyone felt the same pain that I did but that they just had a better attitude.
    Now, I know differently. I am chasing shame away! I know people who experience the world in a similar way and there is confidence in not being alone.
    Thank you for sharing your friends with me.
    Oh, and I am a freelance writer, too!

  • October 31, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Hi Alice,
    So glad you liked the video!
    Navigating stairs in the dark is sometimes scary. You were wise to get help!
    The sensory processing disorder sounds difficult. It’s terrible to feel alone so I’m glad you’ve found others who can share ways they manage it.
    Wow! You’re a freelance writer too?! Great to hear that! It’s so nice to meet other writers! Yay!
    Take care and thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  • October 31, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    I applaud all of you who have vision problems or have fully lost your sight, and still have zest and success in life. I honestly don’t think I would handle it nearly as well. God bless you all!

  • October 31, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    Hi K Lee,
    Thank you for taking time out to watch the video and meet Joy!

  • November 4, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Thank you Francene, Kerry, Alice and Lee! Kerry, I enjoyed reading your recent post on compassion. Alice, there are definitely power in numbers, so it’s awesome that you’ve reached out to others with the same condition. I was laughing to myself about stairways in the dark because I learned my best navigation skills from totally blind friends. I was once at a convention where I thought I was getting around fine, and then it got dark and I found myself grabbing onto my blind roommate to guide me around!

  • November 4, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing those insights, Joy!
    What a pleasure to have you as a guest!

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