Friday Friends

Spotlight on Stephanae V. McCoy


A Passion for Fashion

I’m so excited to introduce Stephanae to you!

She’s from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, my home state, and lives less than three hours from me. It would be wonderful to meet up with her in person. I first “met” Steph through our VisionAware connection, which led me to her blog. Her upbeat, bubbly personality immediately captured my interest and the different topics on fashion she posted kept me coming back to read more.

An Unusual Formula! 

Eight years ago, going blind was not on Stephanae (Steph) McCoy’s bucket list. Since life threw her this curve ball, however, how was she to continue her plan to change the world? Life produced the formula: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) + Life-Altering Event = World Changed!

Changing the World…

With most of her vision gone, Steph credits OCD for making the situation bearable, thanks to numerous regimented routines. So, after the development of macular holes, cataracts, glaucoma, and a legally blind diagnosis later, she is still striving to change the world by:

  • Serving on the Board of Directors of Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh
  • Serving as a Low Vision Committee Member and Chair of the Publicity Committee of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind
  • Member on the Committee for Accessible Transportation (paratransit service)
  • Fundraising Committee Member of the Golden Triangle Council of the Blind (GTCB)
  • Led a team in raising over $10,000 in donations to finance research for Foundation Fighting Blindness
  • Campaigning for an international low-vision awareness effort
  • Publicly speaking at various organizations on a range of vision loss issues

One Conversation at a Time

Since Steph is a single-minded, determined, advocate and conqueror,  it made sense that she would find a way to face losing her vision head-on by promoting low-vision awareness and creating an open dialog to dispel societal myths on blindness and visual impairment. Helen Keller once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Steph’s vision is to educate and alter the mindset of how people view others with disabilities and to that end, she is changing the world, one conversation at a time.

I love it how Steph is creatively using her sense of style and fashion as a vehicle not only to continue incorporating something she loves into her own life but also to use it to encourage others to live and feel their best, regardless of vision limitations.

Check out her article: “How can I be fashionable in the new year if I am a blind or vision-impaired woman?”   This post can also be found on her blog.

You can read more of Stephanae’s writing here: Bold Blind Beauty. She is also  on Facebook

How do you feel about fashion, or making a fashion statement? What aspect of style / fashion most interests you?  Looking forward to reading your comments!

Friday Friends: Stephanae McCoy
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17 thoughts on “Friday Friends: Stephanae McCoy

  • January 30, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Hi Amy, thank you so much for featuring me on your blog. I am so honored and thrilled. Have a blessed weekend!! ~Steph

  • January 30, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Hi Steph,
    You are welcome! If you have any other links for me to add, I’d be happy to add them. We really need to meet up in the Spring. We live comparatively close tor each other and there are a few others in this area. That would be a lot of fun!
    Take care!

  • January 31, 2015 at 2:28 am

    Wow, Amy! Sounds like OCD is your friend’s secret weapon! Like rocket fuel, it propels her forward. Thanks for an inspiring post!

  • January 31, 2015 at 2:47 am

    Wow. What an amazing story! I’m glad Stephanie still has the ability to write and I’m definitely going to check out her blog.

  • January 31, 2015 at 5:01 am

    People use whatever is available to help them succeed. It’s a perfect example of Romans 8:28. “All things work together for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purposes.”

  • January 31, 2015 at 5:02 am

    So glad to hear that you will be checking out her site!

  • January 31, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    This is so encouraging and inspiring, Amy! I’m so glad you wrote about this brave and accomplished young lady!

  • January 31, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I am not vision impaired in the sense that, although I’ve been legally blind without glasses since elementary school, my vision is (at this time) fully correctable. So my main fashion challenge is – buying glasses! I need a new prescription every year, and, for the past few years, I’ve gotten new frames, too. Problem is, I can’t see myself in the new frames I am evaluating – well, I can see a very blurry something in the mirror. So I have to depend on someone, usually my husband, to say if I look good (or not). Only in the last couple of years have I found an eyeglass place that has a machine that takes your picture in each lens, then displays your choices side by side – then you can put your glasses on and view yourself. What a wonderful invention that has been for me.

  • January 31, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    I couldn’t begin to practice fashion consciousness if I couldn’t see myself. She must have a very strong mentality.

  • January 31, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Yes, Amy, she has really accomplished a lot and is encouraging others to do the same.
    She is changing the perception of how the “blind” and “vision-impaired” see themselves.

  • January 31, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Hi Alana,
    I’ve never heard of that and it does sound so wonderful!
    Thanks for letting me know about that. I’m sure it’s brought a lot of business to that eyeglass store!
    Thank you for dropping by and commenting!

  • January 31, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Francene,
    I think sometimes things seem un-doable until you look at your resources or or you have had some kind of training. Then things are more manageable and one can put into place ways to make them possible. 🙂

  • February 1, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Many thanks to all of you ladies for your kind remarks. I agree with Amy that we make use of any resources at our disposal to do what we need to do to keep going. None of us are immune to disability or unfortunate situations that may arise in our lives. It becomes a matter of how we respond to these circumstances that determines our being able to move forward.

    When many people experience a traumatic, life-altering event though it may take time to adjust while learning new skills and techniques of doing what we used to do, we are fundamentally still the same. In my case I took pride in my appearance with makeup, dress and how I carried myself. Since losing my sight these things have not changed as they are integral to me – only the way I achieve the end result has changed.

    It’s very important to me that we look at people as unique individuals who are capable of achieving whatever our hearts desire. For some of us who have disabilities this may be more of a challenge but not impossible. The most difficult obstacle we face is breaking through the preconceived notions of others.

  • February 2, 2015 at 3:00 am

    Well said, Stephanae!! You are so articulate! It’s a joy to tap into your experience. I’m learning from you all the time. Thank you so much for your post!

  • February 3, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Great post Amy, about Steph and the great work she does. I don’t wear makeup personally, but I was never used to wearing it so I just never really got into the habit. I consider it from time to time though. It is a very complex issue when you are wanting to look and feel your best, as a visually impaired or blind woman, but yet you don’t see yourself like others see themselves. I wish I could describe it much better than that. Anyway, I was happy to see this post and take care.

    P.S. I did not realize the two of you live so close. You definitely will have to meet in person and I am sure you would have a great time doing so.

    Have a great week.


  • February 3, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Thanks, Kerry.
    I think I know what you mean about make-up. I don’t wear much but I think it’s important to weigh in on this, maybe a little more on fashion for me, personally. Have you seen Erin’s make-up youtube video? It received a lot of attention so I think it’s a big issue that women are addressing in the vi community. My nieces are great in helping me choose clothes that are a little more fashionable than I would be able to choose for myself. Mostly because that’s not my forte. My sister also knew and helped me choose clothing that looked nice on me. I am back on my schedule for Friday Friends and would like to feature you as well. Will PM you about it.
    Thanks, Kerry.

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