Bill Barkeley

deaf-blind adventurer, advocate, author & storyteller (public speaker)

Bill is a deaf-blind adventurer, advocate, author & public speaker (storyteller) that speaks and delivers adventure projects to inspire people around the world - disabled or not - on building a pioneering, adventuring spirit and overcoming the challenges in their lives.

Bill's work is about helping others get to a better place in this world and paying it forward in a life that has been rich and fulfilling beyond his wildest imagination.

Bill's groundbreaking climb as the first deaf-blind person to summit Mount Kilimanjaro was covered on Good Morning America.

The story was to share a personal journey about building a life within the context of your abilities and disabilities.

In Bill’s case, the journey is an inexorable march further and further into darkness and silence.

He is a pioneer with assistive technologies for the hearing impaired / deaf, the vision impaired / blind and those with dual sensory challenges -the deaf-blind.

Bill is one of 15,000 in the United States and 100,000 in the world with Usher's Syndrome which progressively robs its victims of both hearing and vision over the course of their lifetime. There are currently no treatments and cures.

See why in many ways he believes that it may be the best thing that ever happened to him.

Light in the Distance

We are 31 days in.

In less than 48 hours, we will have hiked over 500 miles in 33 days into Santiago finishing the Compostela de Santiago. 

We have yet to experience the final moments. I will not attempt to use words to convey everything.

You have been able to get glimpses of the journey as we have had the good fortune to keep going and persevere to the end.  God willing, we will make it to what was once known in the Middle Ages as the hike to the "end of the world."

An idea to walk across Spain and experience one of the world's greatest treks, has become much larger than that.  

People who have vision bigger than themselves and who have the desire to elevate and serve others in the world have made this possible for me as a deaf-blind adventurer, advocate & storyteller.   

A special early thanks to Jack Smith, Father Loc Trinh and Mark Gietzen - you gave over 30 days of your life to share inspiration and hope to others around the world. 

The vision of 3 guides and myself drew others in.

We have people on the trail who have adopted us, cheered us on and will meet us in Santiago as a celebration of our shared human journey to elevate ourselves and others around the globe.  I shared some of their stories and everyday there are more.

Vision Service Plan, aka VSP Global, #VSPVisionCare and JimMcGrann, it's CEO and President has taken our vision, reach and potential to elevate others in the world to the cause of vision loss and helping people see more clearly, to a whole new level.  

Jim McGrann, a leader who elevates others,  put 7 people on the trail with us in Santiago in #USHEQX t-shirts and they are sharing this story with their truly global vision community that touches and serves over 80 MILLION people.

We have their gift of a bright, inquistive and insightful South African filmmaker who is capturing everything as we hike towards the light of Santiago so that we can share the message about vision loss and helping others overcome and transcend it  for years to come. 

We set out to share a simple story and journey of a deaf-blind adventurer with Usher Syndrome to mark Usher Syndrome World Awareness Day and see where that goes.

What we found was that by setting a vision bigger than ourselves, we had an opportunity to reach beyond ourselves, pioneer, go global and make a meaningful lasting impact by shattering the barriers people in their lives face regardless if they they have known disabilities or not.

In short, by being willing to serve with the intent to "elevate" ourselves, family, friends, community and the world, we are going to make it to our destination.  

We will hike to the "end of the world" and reap the rewards of taking on life's barriers or challenges.  We will overcome.  More importantly, we will transcend, we will all be stronger, more confident, and have new skills and end experiences to keep going...step by step, step by step, step by step to an ever-elevating life and new summits large and small over the course of the mountain ranges we call life.