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Dave Steele, The Blind Poet
Dave Steele is an award-winning poet, author, public speaker, singer, and advocate for the blind. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) in 2014, this genetic eye condition left Dave “severely sight impaired.” Together his wife, Amy, the family grappled with the difficult diagnosis as RP quickly left Steele an unemployed father of four. Feeling the stressors of financial debt and the loss of his independence, Dave turned to social media for support with his RP journey. He was also struck by the numerous misconceptions and stories of injustice being experienced by so many blind/visually impaired people all over the world. When a member in one of these online groups learned of Dave’s singing background, they invited him to perform at a meeting for those living with RP and Usher Syndrome. The experience inspired Steel’s idea for his “Stand By Me RP” song. Using the classic song by Ben E. King, Dave altered the lyrics to relate to how he felt losing his own sight to Retinitis Pigmentosa. In December 2014, Dave sought permission from the band Elbow, to alter the lyrics of their song “One Day Like This.” With the band’s blessing, Steele performed his version of the song at Joanne Milne’s “Breaking the Silence” book launch.
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