With only one course left to complete his MS in Accounting, Mark Lasser went into the darkest time of his life.  This was due in part to the rare optic condition called Non-arthritic Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (NAION).  The condition that begins with similar symptoms to that of an allergy, leaves the person completely blind by the end of the week.  While many who suffer from this usually only have one eye effected, Lasser was in the less than 5% of the population who ended up getting this condition in both of his eyes.  “I didn’t know if I would finish my degree, if I would ever work again, if I would become a person completely dependent on others for basic needs,” said Lasser.

From teaching the accounting class for MBA students, studying for his CPA exam and continuing on in his MS Accounting degree, to completely blind in just a matter of months, Lasser felt hopeless. However, Lasser found a way to believe again.  It was his wife who pushed forward and did not give up and found resources for Lasser right away.  Furthermore, the support that Lasser had received from the Business School and his department was invaluable.

Mark Lasser took a bit of time away from his MS degree in order to learn braille.  The Colorado Center for the Blind estimates that it takes about nine months for someone to learn braille, but Lasser wanted to cut the time down, “I worked nights and weekends to accelerate this process and learned Level I Braille in about a month, and Level II Braille which consists of 190 contractions, in the next two months.”

By January 2015, Lasser enrolled into his final MS Accounting class.  At this point, he had taken his life back, “I could “read” newspapers and magazines, could get myself anywhere I needed to go, was attending sporting events, had gone rock climbing, and was ready to get back to school and on to the rest of life.”

Through his time teaching the MBA accounting class, Lasser sees a future in teaching.  He also wants to gain real world experience, “I know KPMG has hired a blind accountant in their tax practice and knowing this is encouraging.  I am also looking into an entrepreneurial program that affords blind people business opportunities in Federal buildings and locations.”

While this year has been full of obstacles, Lasser knows now that he can go onto a future full of hope and happiness, “The support from the school and faculty during this last year was profoundly impactful in my recovery and my positive outlook.”

To get in contact with Mark Lasser about future projects or community outreach opportunities, contact him at mlasser@comcast.net.

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