Kristin Macdonald had a dream: she was on her way to Hollywood, was pursuing her vision of becoming an actress and a television host. But after breaking her arm for the second time due to failing night vision, she learned her eyesight was slowly degenerating from a condition called retinitis pigmentosa: a rare, incurable form of blindness. Despite the odds, Kristin went on to work with some of the top people in Hollywood as an associate producer and production coordinator on numerous television shows.
While now legally blind, Kristin refers to herself as “partially sighted,” and says that although her eyesight is poor, her vision is perfect.
After years of learning to live with her “new vision” on life, Kristin was enrolled into a stem cell clinical trial at UC Irvine, led by Dr. Henry Klassen, which uses stem cells to help restore vision. While the trial is currently testing patient safety, early signs are positive, and the small dose that Kristin received has her seeing light for the first time in a decade! It is hoped in the coming years scientists will be able to expand the trial with the hope of finding a long term treatment for RP. This clinical trial was made possible by funding from Proposition 71, California’s $3 billion investment in stem cell research.
Kristin is currently an ambassador for Americans for Cures, an advocacy group for stem cell research. As a patient advocate, her mission is to raise awareness on the importance of finding cures and treatments for blindness and other diseases.
Kristin is a motivational speaker, workshop leader, and author. She shares her success strategies and inspiration to audiences across the country. Her talks are full of heart, humor and Hollywood tidbits, and people are inspired to live their most amazing lives, no matter who they are or where they come from.
Kristin also hosts her own radio show “Second Vision,” which is consistently rated in the top five among hundreds of podcasts. It broadcasts from AIRSLA.org and provides an entertaining and life changing message with topics that are motivational and inspirational. Since it is web based, her show is accessible from anywhere in the world and its message applies to everyone, not just the visually impaired. She has conducted interviews with experts in dating and dating with a disability, nutrition and fitness, yoga, martial arts, spiritual healing, vision rehabilitation and stem cell research.
Throughout her career, Kristin worked with a number of non-profits such as the Foundation Fighting Blindness, and the annual Hope in Sight Gala given by the Center for the Partially Sighted. She sat for five years on the Board of Directors for airsla.org, the first Internet radio service for the blind and visually impaired. She is an active fund-raiser for charity and has raised over seventy thousand dollars. Her hobbies include horseback riding, yoga, salsa dancing and marathon walks on the beach.
You can learn more about Kristin at www.secondvision.net.