Overcoming the Odds

It’s hard to meet someone more inspiring than one of our new employees, Tracie Inman. Tracie initially came to the ILRC seeking our services, but didn’t stay away for long. She started interning back in February, and joined the team full time this summer.

Marketing and Development Director, Tyler Morris said that listening to Tracie tell her personal story is very moving. “Tracie’s over come a lot of things in her life, and talking to her almost brought me to tears!”

Tracie Inman was born in Pooler, Georgia, but moved to Florida as a child to attend the Florida School of the Deaf and Blind (FSDB). She was born with Optic Nerve Atrophy, a genetic disorder that causes the blood flow to the optic nerve to move very slow. This disorder affects Tracie’s hearing and vision.

“My central vision is completely gone, I use my peripheral vision to get around. And until 2008 I couldn’t hear at all. I had cochlear implants put in my ears to help me hear,” said Tracie.

Tracie’s time at FSDB was filled with learning experiences. She learned American Sign Language, and did well in school, but her peers presented Tracie with a challenge.

“At FSDB students are placed by their primary disability. I was discriminated against by the kids because I was both blind and deaf. I got called all kinds of names,” said Tracie.

Tracie pushed through all of it, and took each experience and tried to learn something from it. Sports were a large part of Tracie’s life. She participated in track and swimming at the school.

Pushing Forward:

Tracie said that sports taught her to never give up. In fact, she remembers a particular time and coach that changed her outlook on life forever.

“I was in a swim meet, at the time and was super nervous because of all the people around, I didn’t think I could finish the meet, so I hopped out of the water and decided to quit,” said Tracie. “Boy, was that the wrong decision.” Tracie’s swim coach proceeded to get straight in her face and strictly tell her she was never allowed to quit again. “I learned from that moment on that it doesn’t always matter if you win in life, but you should never give up.”

Tracie took the lesson she learned from that day and applied it to the rest of her life. After she graduated from highschool Tracie went on to college. She completed with her associates degree in Political Science.

Helen Keller has always been a source of inspiration for Tracie and she said that ideally some day she would like to be a disability advocate.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, she is also married with three children. Tracie’s disability has been passed on to her oldest son and middle daughter.

Tracie and her family are an inspiration to everyone they meet. Her son is legally blind and is currently enrolled at Florida State.

Tracie attributes all of her success to her strong faith. “I’ve learned in life that you can overcome anything with faith and taking things one step at a time.”

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