Skip Navigation
NPR News

'Crashing Through' from Blindness to Sight

May 24, 2007 (Talk of the Nation)

Hear this

This text will be replaced
Launch in player

Share this

Michael May was blinded at age three, and lived 42 years of his life without sight. In 1999, at age 45, May was given the possibility to see again through a revolutionary stem-cell transplant surgery.

Before the surgery, May lived a full and rich life without vision; he broke records in downhill skiing, worked for the CIA and became a successful inventor. After a lifetime of identifying himself as a person who could not see, deciding to undergo the risky and life-altering procedure was not easy for May; the few documented cases of blind people regaining their sight indicate that it is an exciting and dramatic — but also terrifying — process.

Despite the enormous medical and emotional risks, May decided to go through with the surgery. In a new book, Crashing Through, author Robert Kurson chronicles May's experience regaining his sight: from the joy of seeing his wife and his children for the first time, to the extraordinary frustration he faced learning to use his recovered eyesight.


Robert Kurson, author, Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

Read full story transcript

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR

Visitor comments


NCPR is supported by:

This is a Visitor-Supported website.