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Red Szell climbing a rock face

Seeing sport differently with Red Széll

Now in his early 50s with only two per cent vision, Red is an accomplished rock climber, published author and a presenter on RNIB Connect Radio.

Despite starting to lose his sight at the age of only nineteen due to retinitis pigmentosa, today nothing has stopped him living life to the full – and with passion.

It’s true his diagnosis came as a massive shock and he didn’t cope well with the news that he would be blind by the age of thirty. Despite deteriorating vision, he went on to raise two beautiful daughters. He then started to get back into activities that rebuilt his confidence, such as wild swimming and Pilates. Activities like these ‘helped keep me sane’ he says.

He also found great support using RNIB’s Sight Loss Advice service. And, as an avid reader, he was delighted to discover Talking Books, and he enjoyed listening to RNIB Connect Radio so much that he now presents ‘Read On’, a regular slot on the station, reviewing books and authors.

His attitude is determined and positive - ‘You’ve just got to look at the gifts that life gives you. Focus on what you can achieve rather than what you’ve lost.’

And it’s this attitude to life that has led him to focus to his dreams – not his limitations. He went on to be the first blind person to climb The Old Man of Hoy, an iconic and daunting 450 foot pinnacle of rock in Scotland. Now, he realises, his achievements are epiphany moments, and that it’s his very blindness that has made realising his dreams possible. And, as he says “I’m here and it’s good to be alive.” Red really does see sport differently!