Ramona Rice of Hooper, Utah has been selected as the Hamilton Relay 2022 Deaf Community Leader Award recipient for the state of Utah. Ramona has been an incredible advocate for the DeafBlind community. She has collaborated with several agencies and non-profit organizations by assisting with hosting, planning, creating awareness and fundraising. She has also authored nine books discussing various topics on Deafblindness, Usher Syndrome and her life experiences. She has contributed so much to the community, with her most notable being:
- Serving on Utah Transit Authority’s Committee on Accessible Transportation
- Serving on the board of Disability Law Center
- Planning and hosting the Deafblind Awareness Convention (197 attendees)
- Donating 100% of sales to Usher Syndrome Coalition from her first book, “Walk in My Shoes”
- Planning and hosting a book-writing event for her second book, “Walk in My Paws,” to support military veterans and their service dogs, with all proceeds donated to Freedom Fidos
- Founding the Deafblind Advocacy in Utah Committee
- Serving as an ambassador for the Usher Syndrome Coalition
- Gaining supportive relationships with Governor Herbert and First Lady Herbert in:
- Deafblind Awareness Week Declaration signed annually by Gov. Herbert
- First Lady Herbert endorsed and supported her first and second books
She has accomplished many things on behalf of the Deafblind community, and we thank her greatly for everything she has done. Below is a note she has written that she would like to share:
Who Am I? Utah Deafblind advocate and writer tells all!
I have been a proactive advocate for over 30 years for the Low Vision/Blind, Hard of Hearing/Deaf and Deafblind communities to spread awareness and change the public's misconceptions. I find it rewarding to see significant outcomes, but it comes with patience, perseverance and persistence.
Deafblindness is often underestimated and misunderstood, contributing significantly to the many barriers faced by people with dual sensory loss, and each deafblind person connects, communicates and experiences the world differently. Those with a dual sensory loss constitute a diversified group with a broad experience of disability and may have additional support and inclusion requirements. Each deafblind person may face restrictions of participation that are affected by the level of support and barriers in their environment, the severity of the deafblindness, and the age of onset, among other elements.
Also, as an ambassador for Usher Syndrome Coalition, I am committed along with Usher Syndrome Coalition to connecting people to life-changing information, resources and local services and gaining community support. One of the books I've written, "Walk in my Shoes: An Anthology on Usher Syndrome," has been well-received by many readers in the United States and many countries.
Who Am I? I am a fighter keeping up the good fight!
- Ramona Rice
This leadership recognition has been brought to you by Hamilton Relay.