Emilie Louise Gossiaux
There are few people who you will meet in life who have such a strong presence that you will remember them for the rest of your life. You recognize a person immediately when you meet them. Emilie is one of those people.
I do not believe in pity, and I do not believe our world is fair, but I do believe we have the capacity to succeed in our dreams if we have the stamina and courage to endure the hardships that life throws in our path. As some of you may know and some do not, I am blind and have been since birth so I have had the advantage (if you want to call it that) to develop my skills and passions without having to stop and relearn how to do what I do. I spent 2 and a half years teaching at a private rehabilitation center for blind people, which was one of the most rewarding jobs of my life.
It was a place to take my skills as a blind person and truly help people to see that they are not defined by being blind, but rather by who they are as a person.
Emilie is a person who challenged all of my skills and talents and made me stretch to find ways to instill in her that she could continue with her quest to be an artist, despite becoming blind. Emilie is an exceptional artist, and she perfected her skill to such a level to be accepted to one of the most prestigious art schools in the country, Cooper Union in New York City.
Emilie started out in life with a hearing loss and, like many who have a single disability, compensated for this in other ways. One day her world changed forever when she was hit by a truck, went into a coma, and became blind and lost the use of one arm and leg. Her story is better told on her website, www.emiliegossiaux.com.
I attempted in a very short period of time to show her how to take the artistic thoughts in her head that she had previously put out in the world in the form of drawings into creating her art with her hands in a tactile form. I do not think I taught Emilie anything about art because she already had exceptional skills. I hope I taught her how to rethink and believe in her skills and talents and know that the same great artist was still inside her head and now she needs to bring it to life through her hands. And so my friend Emilie, go far and never accept what others tell you about what you can or cannot do and continue to be braver then anyone I have ever met and never stop believing in yourself.