her around campus but may not know her name. As she walks, the tap of her cane
resonates with every step. When people see her they assume she is just a blind
girl. Some might even feel sorry for her, but that should not be the case
because she is extraordinary.
Hochstein was born prematurely but had full sight in her eyes. She stayed in
the hospital until she weighed enough to go home. However, at the six week mark
she contracted Group B Strep meningitis, an infection that attacked her optic
nerves, limiting blood flow to the occipital region of the brain where the
vision center is located. The decreased blood flow caused the optic nerves to
atrophy, so her vision loss is progressive.
have almost no vision in my right eye and about 7-10 percent in my left
eye. I have no peripheral vision and no
depth perception,” Hochstein said.
sight has not stopped Hochstein from leading a progressive lifestyle. She
started playing soccer when she was four years old and played until her junior
year of high school when the game got a little too fast for her to keep up
with. As a little girl, she also enjoyed doing gymnastics, but when she could
not see her feet on the balance beam, she switched to floor exercises and
day, I still love jumping on the trampoline and do flips,” said Hochstein.
One of her
favorite family activities is skiing. Her parents put her on the slopes at
three years old.
they always researched the area where we would go and found an instructor who
would be willing to work with me. They
would learn tips and tricks from the instructors and then allow me to ski with
the rest of the family,” said Hochstein.
“I remember having to wear a ‘blind skier’ vest at one resort but My mom
found reflective tape and put some on all our ski wear so that they all
‘looked’ like me.”
the right schools proved to be difficult for her. Many schools, because of her
disability, would automatically put her in the special education classes. It
took several attempts and a very determined mother to find a school that would
accept Chloe and give her a chance.
that makes her extraordinary is that she has participated in the “Sports
Extravaganza,” a sporting event for, according to the Sports Extravaganza
website, “students who are blind or visually impaired who might never consider
competing in a sports event. Students with visual impairments will participate
in Paralympic type and national sports such as Track and Field, Goalball, and
It is an
annual event that takes place in October and comprises quite a few states. Now
that she has become too old to participate, Hochstein goes back every year to
have finished High School, I have become a volunteer and few things bring me
more joy than helping out.” Hochstein said.
got to college, the transition of being away from home was a little rough.
few semesters were difficult. Most
people don’t know how to approach me.
They see or hear my cane and they switch sides of the sidewalk,” said
wishes that people would see her as a person not as a disability.
“I have an
amazing sense of hearing,” Hochstein said. “It is true that once you lose a
sense, another one becomes stronger. It does not anger me but it saddens
me. I just wish people would say Hi,
introduced themselves and ask what they wish to know. I truly don’t mind talking to people.”
junior exercise science pre-physical therapy major, Chloe boasts about friends
who will take her places from church to Wal-Mart, or anywhere she needs to go.
After she graduates she intends to go to PT school to become a physical
big plans for her life and has never once let her disability get in the way.
Telling her she can’t do something only makes her want to do it more.
your dreams, sometimes they may take a different road than you expected,”
Hochstein said. “Don’t give up when people tell you can’t or when it gets hard
because you’ll always find someone who will support you and believe in you to
make it happen.”