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'Crashing Through' from Blindness to Sight

May 24, 2007 (Talk of the Nation)

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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.

Guest:

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

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