Editor’s Note: FOCUS is a multimedia series that highlights the diversity and depth of our community through interviews and photographs.

“Blindness is not a barrier to success,” says Kyle Laconsay.

The Kaneohe resident has gradually been losing her vision since her late 20s, but hasn’t let it stop her from seeing the world with an optimistic view.

Laconsay has an eye disease called keratoconus that changes the shape of the cornea. She has had multiple unsuccessful cornea surgeries and now has complete blindness in her right eye and little vision in her left eye.

The definition of being “legally blind” is being unable to see greater than 20/200. But Laconsay says, “whether you can only see a little bit or you can’t see at all, it’s all the same.”

Laconsay is a trainer for the Business Enterprise Program at Hoopono Center for the Blind, helping blind people fulfill their dreams of owning or managing their own business.

“Their mission at Hoopono is to create a support system to help the blind become economically and socially independent by teaching them how to cook, read braille, learn technology and learn how to use a cane for mobility,” Laconsay says.

Laconsay has been healthy all her life but two years ago her immune system attacked her liver, requiring a liver transplant within two months of her diagnosis. She proudly wears a green ribbon to show her support and gratitude for organ donation because without the transplant she doesn’t know if she would still be here today.

This unexpected surprise gave Laconsay a new outlook on life. She lives each day as if it were her last.

“If the sun is shining or it’s raining, you’re still here and you’re still living it,” she says. “It’s best to live life to its fullest.”

Laconsay cherishes each day she gets to spend with her two children, husband and parents as well as her friends she has met through the blind community.

So the next time you have a first world problem, remember Laconsay’s story about how she trips in potholes, gets back up and keeps on walking.

Listen to her story:

Got the perfect person for FOCUS? Email Nathan Eagle at neagle@civilbeat.com.

About the Author

  • Alana Hong
    Born and raised in Honolulu, Alana Hong has been scuba diving since age 5. She enjoys traveling, but always finds herself back in the islands she will forever call home. She currently works in Hawaii's film industry on various projects, most recently in the prop department on "Last Resort." On the weekends she can be found in the water with her camera and fins or brainstorming ideas with her creative friends.