Connor Lohmiller battles Stargardt Disease

The amazing fight of the Elder senior to see his future.

Connor Lohmiller battles Stargardt Disease

As many Elder students know, senior Connor Lohmiller has been battling Stargardt Disease since the summer going into freshman year.  Thanks to the amazing help of his friends, family, teachers, and outside supporters, Lohmiller has been continuing his outstanding fight against the disease that impairs central eyesight.

“My disease is a degenerative disease that affects my central eyesight,”  said Lohmiller. “It makes it hard for me to see and read things, but it really doesn’t affect me when I play sports.”

It is hard to argue how challenging it must be to battle such a disease at such an early age of life.

According to www.blindness.org/stargardt-disease, Stargardt disease is caused by the death of photo-receptor cells in the central portion of the retina called the macula.

“Only one in 10,000 kids get the disease,”  said Lohmiller.

The visual acuity may decrease slowly at first, accelerate, and then level off.  By the age of 50, approximately 50 percent of people in the study had visual acuities of 20/200 or worse.

Not to fear, though, because Connor Lohmiller is a fighter and doesn’t quit.  Although there is no current treatment for the disease, Lohmiller continues to fight it in other ways.  He shows off his true grit in the class room.

Connor solemnly said, “It is pretty hard for me to see my papers, and the board in front of me.”  Luckily, Connor has had the luxury of having Mrs. Graham print off tests with blown-up fonts, in order for Connor to see the test well.

“Mrs. Graham has been a huge help for me, and has truly done all she can do in order for me to succeed,” Lohmiller added.

A devastating blow to Lohmiller’s dreams was when the doctor ordered him not to play football.

“Yeah, the doctor ordered for me to not play football, although I feel like I can see pretty well when I play sports,” said Connor. “It was pretty hard on me because playing football was always part of my Elder dream.”

Strong support has also been a very huge boost in Connor’s fight against Stargardt Disease.

I have had outstanding support”

— Connor Lohmiller

He affirmed his family and friends, saying that their support really helps him to not let the disease affect his spirits.

“I would be nowhere in life without my strong support.  They truly encourage me to continue my fight every single day, and to never give up…no matter how tough the road gets,” mentioned Lohmiller.

Such strong support ranges from his former, and current, classmates at St. Dominic School to his family members and classmates at Elder.  That support will continue to grow, as Connor plans to either attend West Virginia University or Ohio University.  While at his new college, many of his future classmates will soon be informed of Connor’s Stargardt Disease.  Awareness of Connor’s fight will spread beyond the city limits of Cincinnati.

So I asked Connor the question, “How will you beat this disease?”.

No time was wasted as Lohmiller grabbed the microphone, looked me in the eye, and confidently exclaimed, “I’ve already beat this disease.”