July 13, 2012
Dozens of beautiful and talented women are all hoping to be crowned Miss Florida this weekend. But, at least one of them feels like she's already won...Because she's beating the odds and inspiring others.
Just to see where to sign her name, Connor Boss must hold her face inches from the sign in sheet. You see, connor is legally blind.
Queries one reporter: "We're what, maybe four feet apart if that and you can't see me?"
"No. Stargardt's affects my retina and my central vision so my peripheral vision is intact" comes the reply.
At six months old, Connor developed over her left eye what's called Hamangioma, a build up of red blood vessels. Surgery took care of that. But within a few years she was diagnosed with Stargardt's, a rare disease.
And one had nothing to do with the other...Just plain bad luck.
Explains Connor: "I fell going down the steps of the Lincoln memorial believe it or not, but I manage."
Stargardt's is a gradual worsening of sight until blindness and is incurable.
But Connor also has an incurable thirst to overcome her disability. On a whim, she entered a local teen pageant and won.
Connor was first crowned “Harvest Queen" and things took off from there.
Connor says each new success, each crown helps build in her a confidence and self-esteem that was lacking...And each new success has led her to the Miss Florida competition.
Pageant officials say other than helping Connor get to marks on the stage, she's treated like all the other young women and she never plays to her disability.
Finds one observer: "She's the last one to tell you this. She would prefer you not know and more importantly, she believes-- it's not what I can't do, it's what I can do."
Says Connor: "I've come to learn that it's not even about winning the pageants, it's about…I'm so glad that my story can be shared and that at least I can inspire one person...If I can inspire one person, I feel like I've won."