During his sophomore year of college, Sigma Phi Epsilon member Jeremy Poincenot suddenly became legally blind over the course of 2 months. No warning. No time to prepare. His life began to blur. This is the story of why we ride how Jeremy has inspired us to focus on the good and make an impact on others.
Jeremy’s Story & The C.U.R.E. Ride
After two months of endless tests, Jeremy was diagnosed with Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON), a genetically inherited disease that can lead to a loss of central vision. LHON happens to 1 in 50,000 people, and unfortunately, it currently has no treatment and no cure. At first, Jeremy thought losing his sight meant forfeiting his life. However, he discovered that every challenge creates an opportunity for growth. Since experiencing sudden vision loss, Jeremy has gone on to become a world blind golf champion…three times over. Most recently winning his 3rd International Blind Golf (IBG) Championship in Rome this October. If you’re curious about blind golf watch this video or check out Jeremy winning the IBG Championships for the first time in England in 2010.
After months of questioning his identity, and battling with depression, Jeremy now uses his story of turning trauma into triumph to inspire people to suspend judgment, focus on the good, and create interdependence as an inspirational speaker. All with the goal to show others how they can effect change and positivity in their lives. You can follow Jeremy’s inspiring work via his coaching and speaking website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Jeremy has also made it his life’s mission to raise awareness and find a cure for LHON. With the support of one of his best friends (C.U.R.E. Ride co-founder, Mark Prophet), he created the C.U.R.E. Ride taking place from October 18th-21st, 2018.
Our goal as riders is to help find a cure for LHON as soon as possible so that people like Jeremy’s mom, little sister, little brother and countless others who carry the LHON gene don’t have to live in fear of suddenly becoming legally blind. Over its history, the ride has raised over $250,000 to support research aimed at finding a cure for LHON. This year celebrates 10 years of riding for a cure and we’re hoping to raise $100,000 to support research at the Doheny Eye Institute, one of the world’s top vision science centers for studies on LHON. At the time of writing this article we’ve raised over $39,000, and all of us amateur cyclists are trying to remember what it’s like to ride a bike again.
The ride happens entirely because of the support of our friends and family like you. If you’d like to support us, please consider sharing the story of Jeremy, LHON and the CURE Ride and donating to our fundraising campaign. Your support would mean the world to Jeremy and all of us who participate.
SigEp 40 Under 40:
“Focus on the good.” This is Jeremy Poincenot’s mantra. Even though a rare genetic disease called LHON took his vision at age 19, his ability to overcome has given him plenty to celebrate. In 2010 Jeremy became the World Blind Golf Champion, and today he travels the country helping other people see how to “turn trauma into triumph.” Jeremy has also made a considerable impact on SigEp, a brotherhood he credits with his rehabilitation. At the 2015 Carlson Leadership Academy, he reminded brothers that, “every single one of us has the power to impact someone’s life.” And there are few examples more powerful than his.
“I can honestly say that had I not joined SigEp, I’m not sure if I would have graduated from college,” says Jeremy. “I don’t think I’d be as comfortable in my own skin as I am now. And I know I would not have had the support of brothers that I have.”
What makes you most excited about the future? “The unbelievable life I’m able to lead now that I’ve overcome this difficult life experience. If you would’ve told me that I would be competing in blind golf tournaments around the world when I first lost my sight, I’d have thought you were nuts! Also, the people I’m able to meet and the places I’m able to go while travelling as an inspirational speaker. The ability to inspire others to take control of life and turn trauma into triumph. The potential to positively impact others’ lives. The opportunity to make a difference in the world.”