Words and Pictures by Russell Boyer (IG: Boyer_brothers)
We all have stories to tell and we want to hear and share them with everyone! Sender Stories is now dedicated to our members and community to share your experiences and of course, Share Our Passions, Find Creative Beta, Learn from our Projects and Send Them, See from Other People’s Perspective, and Climb Together! Sender One embraces personal experiences being told within our community and encourage all to share!
Russell Boyer is a 12 year old that has the heart of a champion and the determination like no other. Russell is color-blind, but that doesn't stop him from doing the things that he loves. He found a way to overcome his color-blindness with EnChroma glasses. In the video below, he talks about the effects of the glasses and the difficulties that he goes through outside of the climbing world.
Here at Sender One, we value our members and the growing community we climb with. With Russell's story, we learn that there are new ways to find creative beta to get the results that you want and we can see that through his tenacity! Below is a little Q&A with Russell about climbing with his EnChroma glasses.
What is color blindness? What are some things that are commonly misinterpreted?
"I think color blindness is the degree of vision deficiency in the way you see color. The spectrum of colors is big; color-blind people have difficulty seeing certain colors or certain colors when grouped together. A lot of people assume color blindness as 'complete color blindness' and sometimes ask me if I have ever seen color, which I think is a little funny."
What colors can you not see?
"Certain colors like red and purple have different shades for me than for others. To me, red looks like black sometimes, while purple looks like blue but that’s not the biggest issue. When there is a combination of colors, like pink and grey, it gets crazy - it is not easy for me to tell the two colors apart."
Are there are any difficulties being color blind?
"Yes, for sure. There are difficulties in everything thing I do. The most obvious hindrance is climbing indoors during my training sessions. When I’m in school, sometimes the teachers refer to colors on the whiteboard or on charts, and I can get them mixed up. Some combination of color markers can drive me nuts. Outside, when I go hiking with my family for example, I have a hard time seeing some animals with patterns on their skin like a snake. And, when they camouflage among the green bushes, it is even harder for me to tell."
When was the first instance you realized you were colorblind?
"When I was climbing at Sender One, I was trying a pink route on a dark grey background. A few quick-draws up on the wall, I couldn’t find my footholds and could only spot the big holds. Sometimes even after searching for 10-15 seconds, I still could not identify my footholds. I ended up making the route a lot harder because I was skipping holds and possibly missing the intended beta wherever I climbed. There had been a few instances prior to this and I started to complain to my mom that 'I can’t see…' It is very frustrating every time this happens.
Finally, at the pediatric optometrist, the doctor said I failed the color vision test. That’s when we all learnt I am color blind.
What was your reaction when you first used EnChroma glasses?
"Shocked. Really shocking. When I was outside all the colors just popped, kinda like a magic-land. I could see the flowers clearly contrasting against the leaves, the logos of various shops jumped out brightly saying, 'Hi, I’m here'."
How do the glasses work?
"EnChroma have two types of glasses, one designed for indoors and one for outdoors. They both look like sunglasses. When I wear them indoors, they attract attention as they look like fashion glasses. My indoor ones come with prescription. They are tinted with a slight purplish red lens that allow me to see colors."
Would you recommend EnChroma to others?
"Life is dull without colors. I think color vision is very important because colors are in every part of my life for example: making observations in my science experiments, reading the color-coded routes on the climbing walls – can you imagine not able to see well in a competition? And, also differentiating and contrasting colors in art – something I enjoy very much. I know the pains of being color blind and I certainly recommend EnChroma to those who are suffering. I am so glad I have these glasses to help me see better!"
Check back for November's Sender Story!