CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) - A talented, visually impaired 11-year-old is thrilled after being chosen for her ability and character to ride on the Lyon's Club Rose Parade float on New Year's Day.
The Braille Institute chose Grace Dabbieri as well as two other children to ride on the float as part of this year's theme, "The Melody of Life." If you've heard Grace sing, it's easy to understand why she placed 3rd in Coronado's Got Talent and has been called on to sing at major events.
"I sung for the state of the city address, for the mayor and for the concert in the park," Grace said. "Excited beyond excited," she said being chosen to ride on the float is like winning the lottery.
She's always loved music, "well when I was a baby you know I would just tap on keyboards, but ever since I can remember I've been doing something with music," saying it opens up a whole new world.
Grace has Optic Nerve Hypoplasia since birth. She explains her optic nerve connecting her eyes to her brain is too thin, only allowing some light in.
Which means instead of seeing her living room, "it's very like blurred and messed up but hey at least I can kinda see." Her ever sunny disposition reflected by her drive to push past obstacles.
"My motto is disabled can do anything even though they may not be able to see hear walk talk or feel, they can use other methods to help them get through challenges," encouraging anyone to do what they love and let nothing get in their way.
Those same challenges daunting for her family. "When I was born, it's kind of natural if you've never met a blind person and you hear that your daughter's blind, you're going to get a little scared. So my mom went to the Braille Institute and met this wonderful blind person... She showed mom how the blind can do anything," she said tearing up.
When asked if she was getting emotional, she said yes, "I'm thinking about how awesome the Rose Bowl Parade is going to be, how wonderful my life is, and how awesome my mom is to like be there for me and help me out."
Grace thinks it's amazing how technology has enhanced the lives of visually impaired people, and that's part of the reason she wants to be a computer programmer.
The Braille Institute will celebrate their centennial in 2019.