The fearless Dan Mancina // Changing the way people see
If you woke up tomorrow and was told that one of your basic human senses was going away, what would you do? Take a moment to think about it before proceeding.
Dan Mancina, a Michigan native, blind skateboarder and motivational speaker, has a disease called retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Essentially, it is a degenerative disease that effects the retina, causing degeneration overtime. Over the last handful of years, Dan has lost the majority of his eyesight; however, he did not lose his vision of living life to the fullest and motivating others to do the same.
Dan, it’s great to chat with another Michigan native who’s inspired so many, and continues to inspire more daily. What part of the mitten are you from?
I grew up in Michigan in kind of a mix of areas and environments. I was born and lived in East Detroit till I was about nine, and then I moved to Livonia. So, a mix of suburbs. I would always go up north Michigan and spend time in the woods and on the water.
Nothing beats the mystique of the U.P. The solitude and beauty can reset the soul. You put a lot of soul into skateboarding, so what’s ahead for you?
I would like to do a lot of things. You know, just keep pushing myself on my board and in life. The rest really just happens from there. I have found that if you keep trying to progress and better yourself opportunity will arise.
That’s amazing. Skateboarding is such an arduous sport and the amount of time it takes to even do small tricks requires discipline and dedication. That said, you’ve crushed the boundaries placed in front of you. What drives you?
I hated the way people viewed me as a person who is blind. I do not like the stigma and feelings most people have for the blind. The ideas of helplessness and pity, it really impacts those who are personally affected by vision loss, and instills negativity that can make them actually feel helpless and useless and that’s not true.
Negativity and rejection can often get in our head space and mess with our mindset. What would you recommend to those who encounter such pessimistic views when they are trying to achieve their goals?
What mantra do you want the world to remember you by?
What does it mean to you to be fueled by choice?
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Featured image by Jeremy Fokkens