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Graduating Fulton senior says cancer has taken his sight, but not his vision

Going blind has inspired a Fulton senior to travel throughout the northeast and speak on behalf of kids with cancer.
Fulton (WSYR-TV) – Going blind has inspired a Fulton senior to travel throughout the northeast and speak on behalf of kids with cancer.

Tim Conners lost his sight to leukemia three years ago, but his upbeat attitude led him to meet three-time Super Bowl champion Joe Andruzzi. And now the pair are sharing their stories together to raise money and spirits.

“I'm able to laugh, I'm able to have fun, and I'm not letting what happened to me define me,” Tim Conners said.

Laughter, he believes, is a remarkable way to heal – and the only way to overcome the pain he went through. In one day, Conners went from competing in football, track, and wrestling to a hospital bed.

“If I hadn't gotten the first chemo by then, I would have probably suffocated that night from the tumor the size of a football in my chest,” Conners said.

He was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia - the relapse of which left him completely blind. It was one of many times over the next year he was close to death.

“At that point his heart, his lungs everything, his kidneys were all failing and we called our family and then quickly everyone came and the next thing we knew Tim was cracking jokes in the ICU,” said Tim’s mother, Betsy Conners.

His method of dealing with cancer inspired the likes of Joe Andruzzi - cancer suvivor himself and recently seen in the news carrying a victim of the Boston Marathon bombings to safety. Their compassion together moved the audience to tears when Tim spoke at Andruzzi's celebrity golf tournament this week.

“You've got to have an up beat attitude and a great sensor of humor and he has both of that,” Andruzzi said. “It's inspirational to see a young man of that stature to move forward and not let things get him down.”

“Cancer may have taken a lot of things away from me, including my sight, but it will never take my vision,” Conners said.

Tim now calls his blindness a blessing - a way to be the voice for those who have not survived journeys like his. Through laughter, Conners is sharing his message of endurance and hope.

“I know how hard it can be. Just got to make sure to keep an upbeat attitude, laugh a little, and just go on and live,” Conners said.

Conners is graduating seventh in his class this weekend.

He will be attending Ithaca College beginning in the winter.

More on the Joe Adruzzi Foundation is available on the organization's website.
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