PHOENIX - It’s a challenge few of us would dare attempt; a mile-and-a-half swim in shark-infested waters from Alcatraz to the San Francisco mainland.
“Ultimately the payoff is better than any struggle you might be going through,” said Tanner Robinson of Phoenix.
Robinson, blind since birth, completed the swim with two other visually impaired people in just over one hour. The group became the first blind swimmers in history to complete the Alcatraz Invitational.
“I bumped off two of my guides that were on my left and right side,” said Robinson.
One of those guides was Arizona’s Deputy Secretary of State Jim Drake.
“There were four of us that sort of formed a box around Tanner as he swam,” said Drake. “Whenever you’re feeling a little down, you look over and think ‘he’s doing this, I gotta find a way to keep up.’”
Drake was so impressed with Tanner’s strength and optimism that he’s since hired him to work at the State Capitol.
This accomplishment is just the latest in a string of challenges the Arizona native has completed.
“He is the epitome of [the sentiment] that vision loss should only be a diagnosis, and not a disability,” said Tobin Ernst with the Foundation for Blind Children.
In 2009, the 25-year-old was part of the largest blind group to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro. The next year, he traversed 24 miles across the Grand Canyon.
“I generally will never say no,” said Robinson. “I’m so excited about doing something new.”
These amazing achievements raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Foundation for Blind Children. Tanner Robinson hopes that by challenging himself in these ways, he’ll raise awareness and funds for the organization.
“Blindness is just a diagnosis,” said Robinson. “It shouldn’t keep you from chasing what you really want.”
Help Tanner and the Foundation for Blind Children by visiting their website.
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