Why not say yes she says

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By LAURA MCLEAY

Be­ing blind doesn’t give you an ex­cuse to say no to cook­ing, climb­ing the Eif­fel Tower or walk­ing a half marathon says a blind woman who has done all three.

Mo­ti­va­tional speaker Julie Woods does not let any­thing stop her from do­ing what she gets asked to do – no mat­ter what the chal­lenge.

Ms Woods went blind in 1997 when she was 31 years old, mar­ried with two sons. She was blinded by an in­flam­ma­tion of the retina and lost full sight within three months.

‘‘I had to deal with life as a blind sin­gle par­ent – but what I am do­ing now has taken me off the couch,’’ she said.

Known as ‘‘That Blind Woman’’, she now tours the coun­try shar­ing her ex­pe­ri­ences and how a dis­abil­ity does not have to weigh you down.

Be­ing a mo­ti­va­tional speaker be­gan af­ter Ms Woods was asked to try cross­coun­try ski­ing.

‘‘I said no, be­cause I did not think I would be able to do it,’’ she said.

‘‘I since re­gret­ted it and now I think, why not?’’

She vis­ited Mata­mata In­ter­me­di­ate and talked to the stu­dents about ‘‘Why Not’’ say yes to things peo­ple of­fer you.

She has al­ready crossed off a list of 20 things peo­ple have asked her to do and she ac­cepted.

‘‘I have talked to John Key, walked six half marathons, ref­er­eed a nude rugby game, got a three pointer when try­ing to sink a bas­ket­ball and climbed the Eif­fel tower, to name a few.’’

Next month Ms Wood is fly­ing to China to walk across the Great Wall of China be­cause some­one asked her to and she isn’t one to turn down a chal­lenge.

She said she en­joyed her visit to Mata- mata and the stu­dents were very en­thu­si­as­tic. ‘‘It was so cool to be there,’’ she said. ‘‘ I like talk­ing to in­ter­me­di­ate age peo­ple be­cause they are open minded and will­ing to be in­spired. The re­sponse is in­cred­i­ble.’’

In Oc­to­ber, Ms Woods plans to break a Guin­ness World Record by bak­ing world’s big­gest truf­fle.

‘‘When I was blind I had to make them [ truf­fles] over and over again so I wouldn’t for­get the recipe since I couldn’t read it any­more and now I al­ways bake them,’’ she said.

‘‘The truf­fle will be 252 kilo­grams.’’

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Mo­ti­vated: Julie Woods, pic­tured with a group of Mata­mata In­ter­me­di­ate stu­dents, doesn’t let her blind­ness stop her from do­ing what she wants to do.

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