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Coronavirus derails training for a Blind Paralympic Triathlete

Amy Dixon uses IrisVision to read but needs an electrician or generator to make her treadmill operate

ENCINITAS, Calif. — STORY UPDATE: 

Things are moving quickly to help Amy Dixon. Primo Fitness was kind enough to provide a treadmill for the Paralympic athlete.  Amy now needs an electrician or generator so she can use the treadmill in her detached garage. If you can help her please email her at info@amydixonusa.com

A story we were ready to air about a blind triathlete was derailed by the coronavirus pandemic. Not only are the 2020 Paralympics postponed but the athlete needs help to train.

In this Zevely Zone, I'm hoping to someone can help Amy Dixon out.

"Challenging for sure," said Amy Dixon from her home in Encinitas. If anyone knows how to adapt it's Amy.  I first met her more than a month ago before the social distancing mandate.

Credit: Ben Lumley

"This is my favorite place to be," said Amy referring to her stationary that sits next to her guide dog Woodstock.  

Amy is a US Paralympic triathlon champion. She's also, 98 percent blind but chooses to focus on the vision she does has. "I have two percent, yeah, just enough to get me in trouble just enough that you don't want me driving your car too much," said Amy. Amy lost her sight twenty years ago due to an auto-immune disease. "I can see your right eye and part of your nose but everything else is black, so I don't know what color your skin is I don't know what color your hair is, I can't see your mouth if you are smiling," she explained.

Credit: Rich Cruse

Amy showed us a gadget she is using to make her life easier. It's a new gadget called IrisVision developed by scientists at Johns Hopkins and Stanford. "This is the headset, it has an on and off switch," she said "So it works just like a virtual reality headset."

The software allows Amy to use her smartphone to see what's right in front of her.  She lives alone, so now more than ever, IrisVision is helping her read her mail.

Credit: KFMB TV

"So this changes everything to black and white for me and this is an easier way for me see things," she said.

Before the technology she could not read her mail.  "No, and I can see the whole envelope which is super cool," said Amy.  

No one can see the coronavirus and weeks ago when when we shot this interview Amy told us before IrisVision she couldn't even see herself. "It can actually widen my field of view and I was able to see my hand for the first time in 20 years," Amy said.  I asked her, "How did you hand look?" She laughed and said, "It looked really good. I said oh that is what a hand looks like the whole thing."

Credit: Wagner Araujo

The Tokyo Paralympics are postponed until 2021 but Amy still needs to train. "Right now my biggest challenge is because I'm visually impaired I can't run by myself," she said last week. Her gym is closed which means she can't swim and and she desperately needs a treadmill. "Anyone who has one sitting in their garage that they are not using I would be very grateful. I would send somebody to come pick it up," she said last week. 

As mentioned above Primo Fitness was kind enough to provide a treadmill for the Paralympic Athlete.  Amy now needs an electrician or generator so she can use the treadmill in her detached garage.

Let us know if you can help Amy go for the gold. Who in typical fashion offered this advice to everyone, "This too shall pass," she said with a smile.

If you can help Amy please send her an email at info@amydixonusa.com.