[NFBOH-Cleveland] Massillon teen wins Ohio Regional Braille Challenge
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Thu Mar 26 19:18:55 UTC 2020
Massillon teen wins Ohio Regional Braille Challenge
Cammie Gattuso, 18, was born blind, but her ability to read and write
braille has taken her to many different cities to win national competitions.
Author: Lindsay Buckingham
Published: 1:03 AM EDT March 12, 2020
Updated: 1:03 AM EDT March 12, 2020
MASSILLON, Ohio -
Every year in Cincinnati, the Clovernook Center hosts a competition for the
blind and visually impaired. They're challenged in several categories of
reading and writing braille.
One competitor, here at home, has been a champion at the Ohio Regional
Braille Challenge three times. Her name is Cammie Gattuso, an 18-year-old
senior at Tuslaw High School in Massillon.
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She's been blind since birth.
"I can't see colors or shapes, but I can see shadows, though. I've spent
long stretches of time, sitting in front of the TV, looking at the lights
and shadows because it was so cool," Cammie told us.
It's the only life she's ever known.
Born at 23 weeks, with underdeveloped retinas and other health
complications, some doctors weren't sure if she would make it.
"We actually had a physician tell us we should plan a funeral," Cammie's
grandmother, Sandy Gattuso told us.
There was no funeral; just an abundance of hope and love, thanks to Cammie's
grandparents, who adopted her after she was born.
"I said yes in a heartbeat," Sandy said of her decision.
Cammie has a magnetic personality. But, sometimes, it's just tough to
"Fitting in socially - there are some things that I think are funny, that
other people don't think is funny at all," Cammie said of making friends.
"There have been some who haven't gotten to know me, so they're missing
She's got support from her school. They've even made special modifications
"They tried really hard to help me and, it worked. And I wouldn't be where I
am today if it weren't for the wonderful, wonderful school district," Cammie
She also found camps with others just like her, helpful. She mastered
braille, and it shows.
"I utilize braille every day, and I read very often, and I write a lot. You
should see how fast I write!" Cammie said confidently.
She's so fast, in fact, she's won the Ohio Regional Braille Challenge three
times. The competition brings challenge camaraderie, and fun.
Being a champion has it's perks, but what Cammie really wants is friends.
"Although I'm soft spoken, I do have a lot of interesting things to say when
I do decide come out of my shell. I'm also very good-natured and it doesn't
take very much to please me," Cammie said. "I would love to have a circle of
friends, at least that I can, that I can rely on that will have my back,
that will, come over to my house and hang out."
Cammie has trouble seeing the world, but she somehow always manages to find
"My family has supported me every single day. Every step of the way. Every
single time I have a problem," Cammie said. They say, 'I love you so much.
And I say, 'I love you so much, as well.'"
Cammie also wants to speak out for people who are challenged.
"I want to be able to advocate for people who are disabled. And who have
gone through or who are facing challenges such as blindness or cerebral
palsy or down syndrome or whatever. I just want to be able to advocate for
them," Cammie said.
Sandy Gattuso says her pride for her granddaughter is endless.
"I am very proud of everything that she does. She's a young lady in her own
right, and she is certainly proving it . proving it to not just her
teachers, but to everybody."
And to no one's surprise, Cammie won the Ohio Regional Braille Challenge
this year, jfor the fourth time.
She's waiting to find out if she advances to California for the national
National Federation of the Blind of Ohio (NFBO)
Suzanne Turner, Ohio Affiliate Vice President
Cleveland Chapter, President
Please click on the links below to learn more about the organization
The Ohio Affiliate
"Live the life you want" featuring, National President, Mark Riccobono
Visit and take a moment to like our Facebook Page!
The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the
characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the
expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles
between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want;
blindness is not what holds you back.
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