Blinded In Separate Accidents, Two Men Share Common Bond

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Two strangers, blinded in separate traffic accidents two years earlier, meet and discover a startling coincidence.

When Marcus Engel and Ron Graham met at the Seeing Eye, Inc. in Morristown, New Jersey, in 1995, they knew they had something in common. Both were blind and had come to the guide dog facility to get their first Seeing Eye dogs.

Then they learned that both had lost their sight in automobile accidents. As they continued to talk, they soon discovered a startling coincidence. Both accidents had occurred two years earlier on exactly the same date, October 9, 1993.

Engel's accident was on a cold autumn night in St. Louis during his freshman year of college when he was 18. Following a hockey game, Engel and some friends were headed to a local diner. As they pulled into a busy intersection, a speeding driver slammed broadside into their car. Along with other injuries, every bone in Engel's face was broken by the impact.

When Graham's accident happened, he was a 31-year-old captain in the Texas prison system. Graham had been driving on a dark West Texas road near Lubbock, lost control on a curve, and flipped the car into a cotton field. Thrown from the vehicle, he ended up face down in the dirt with broken bones and severe head trauma.

With their life-threatening injuries, both Engel and Graham spent months in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. Demonstrating similar determination and positive attitudes, each decided to treat his blindness as an inconvenience and not a barrier.

After receiving training with his guide dog, Engel returned to Missouri State University and earned a Bachelors Degree in Communications. He began speaking to groups about his experiences and is now a professional speaker, teaching audiences how to overcome adversity, make intelligent choices and see obstacles as opportunities. He has resided in St. Louis for several years and is in the process of moving to Orlando where he and his fiancée plan to live after their marriage this year.

Engel, 31, has written two books. His autobiography, "After Thisā€¦An Inspirational Journey For All The Wrong Reasons," challenges readers to recognize that choices, not circumstances, determine happiness. He also is author of "The Other End Of The Stethoscopeā€¦33 Insights For Excellent Patient Care," a book about the challenges faced by health care providers that limit their ability to provide excellent patient care. Engel also writes a blog and maintains a website, http://www.marcusengel.com.

After Graham's training at Seeing Eye, he focused on a new goal of becoming a counselor for people with disabilities. Graham entered the University of Houston-Clear Lake and earned a Bachelors Degree in Behavioral Science, and a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology. He later served as Coordinator of Disability Support Services at Central Texas College in Killeen, TX.

Today, Graham, 44, is married and lives in Kingwood, TX, where he produces a blog called Access Ability. The blog, http://www.accessability.blogspot.com, is targeted to college professionals in the disability support services field. Graham uses the blog to publish information about disability resources and to provide a forum for disability professionals and disabled students to share their knowledge and opinions.

Since that fateful meeting in 1995, Engel and Graham have become very good friends. As each of them has worked to inspire other people over the years, they also have provided inspiration for each other with their successful lives.

Contact:

Henry Beathard Public Relations

281-360-3495

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HENRY BEATHARD

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