Last year we started a new tradition at Eyebuydirect, the Eye Care Award, where we nominate and honor those who make a difference in the vision community — it’s part of our commitment to celebrate and support unique and deserving eye care heroes who inspire us, and those around them, every day.
This year we’re excited to announce the Eye Care Award goes to Colleen Young, a silver and bronze Paralympic medalist, for her achievements as an athlete, role model, and champion for eye health.
Born with Albinism, an incurable visual impairment that deems her legally blind, Young must go through great lengths to protect her ultra-sensitive eyes daily. But that didn’t stop her from falling in love with swimming. At 14, she became the youngest athlete to compete for Team USA in 2012, and has continued to make incredible breakthroughs for the sport, holding three USA Paralympian world records.
“I didn’t have a role model I could really relate to when I was just starting my Olympic career. Now, it’s so important to me to fill that void for other people impacted by Albinism or other vision-related conditions,” said Colleen Young. “I am proof that it’s possible to do extraordinary things even with disadvantages. Generous supporters like Eyebuydirect help make my dreams come true, and my goal is to motivate people to overcome hurdles in their own lives to pursue their dreams.”
The Eye Care Award will accompany a $25,000 contribution to support Young’s training efforts as she prepares to compete for Team USA in the 2024 Paris Paralympics, her fourth Olympic event.
“We are just beyond impressed with Colleen Young, she is such a hero to so many and we are proud to be honoring and supporting her efforts to compete in the upcoming Paralympics,” said Sunny Jiang, CEO of Eyebuydirect. “Colleen’s advocacy for eye care, positive spirit and relentless energy for overcoming obstacles is incredibly inspiring and makes her the perfect recipient of our 2022 Eye Care Award.”
Beyond the swim lane, Young is an advocate for people with disabilities, particularly those with visual impairments, and uses her platform to raise awareness and offer a voice to others impacted by Albinism. Learn more about her journey through her self-titled blog “Colleen Young, Overly Authentic: The girl with low vision but some bright insight.”
Let’s all raise our glasses to Colleen Young!