Our recent guest, Aron O’Dowd is a triathlete, massage therapist, and podcaster. In 2008 Aron broke a world record at a British indoor rowing competition.
Aron rowed 1000 meters in 3 minutes 38 seconds winning a gold medal and beating the world record by 32 seconds.
He accomplished all this at the age of 17. Amazingly he’d only been introduced to the sport at the age of 16.
“I hopped on a rowing machine, and it was like a first kiss with a girlfriend. I fell madly in love.”Aron O’Dowd
So much awesomeness for someone so young. Even more impressive is the fact that Aron has Retinitis Pigmentosa which is a symptom of Bardet Biedl Syndrome he was born with.
Bardet Biedl Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder with highly variable symptoms which may include retinal degeneration, obesity, reduced kidney function, polydactyly (extra digits of the hands or feet) among many other features. While there are more than 20 genes associated with BBS, the underlying cause regardless of gene is malfunction of primary cilia, a key component of cellular communication. BBS is thus categorized as a ciliopathy, or a disease of the cilia.https://www.bardetbiedl.org/what-is-bbs
Aron’s vision impairments began at the age of 7. From then until about the age of 11 he could do 90% of what kids do – ride bikes, play soccer, play video games, etc.
“From age 13 into my 20’s the most damage was done. I lost 35% of my vision.”Aron O’Dowd
Aron’s vision continues to decrease about 1% each year.
Since Bardet Biedl Syndrome is genetic and degenerative, once diagnosed Aron knew his fate very early in life.
“I felt sadness and anger. It took me a long time to come to terms with it. I’ve been to the school for the blind in Ireland, use a long cane for getting around, and have trained guide dogs. It takes a long time to come to the terms of living in a visual world and not being able to participate in it as I’d like to.”Aron O’Dowd
Aron’s current vision is only 15-35% of normal. Despite the cards he’s been dealt, Aron has created a lifestyle he’s pleased with.
After rowing for 12 years, Aron discovered the triathlon event of swimming, biking, and running.
“It’s my new love. I have a need for speed.”Aron O’Dowd
Aron hopes to get to the international competition level for triathlon. He also aspires to create a world record mindset for all people he coaches.
“We all have the same opportunities. We live in a bubble called society and disability. When you remove disability you discover everyone has the same opportunity. Many people like me live life as if they had all their faculties.”Aron O’Dowd
How can someone without vision see in a different way?
“Forget the words ‘I can’t’. We should say ‘I can’. Being a superhero means we have the ingredients; how can we turn that into something?”Aron O’Dowd
Aron shared a list of some technical tools he uses to enhance his limited site:
- Text to Speech
- iPhone & MacBook (because the software accessibility is built in)
- Voice Over reads out screens for him
- Be My Eyes – A Facetime call for someone in another part of the world
Aron also indulges in
- Positive Prime
Positive Prime taps into our neuropathways. Aron calls it his inspiration coffee. He has created a session called
In his session Aron uses frequency music designed by a sound therapist.
“I feel blessed while listening. I used Positive Prime to prepare for my first triathlon race. It creates a positive charge. I can get up and do anything.”Aron O’Dowd
Aron insists we are living a high performance lifestyle, and we can all have a high performance mindset.
Aron is an inspiring example of why and how we should all find a way to tap into our most superhero self.
Experience Aron’s Positive Prime session for 30-days free. Imagine increasing your performance every single day in just three minutes.