One Macon man is overcoming adversity and regaining a sense of independence with his daily workout routine.
Wade Horton is a regular at Kinetix gym in Macon and has been an avid weightlifter for more than 20 years.
“It was just second nature to me,” he says.
The former Bibb County Sheriff's Deputy is retired after 16 years with the department, but it was not by choice.
“I have Retinitis Pigmentosa," Horton explains. "It's a slow regression of your vision.”
The disease, which runs in his family, affects the cones and rods in the eyes. His sight began deteriorating about a decade ago. Now, Horton is blind.
At the gym, Horton does not appear different than anyone else, as he navigates the equipment and stacks the plates to the desired weight. It is not until he picks up his cane to go to the next station that his lack of sight becomes apparent.
What many likely consider a disadvantage, he says can actually work in his favor
“Before, I would focus on how it looked,” Horton explains. “Now, I go by how it feels, and I think my workouts are even better now, because I'm more in tune with my body.”
However, he admits he did not always have that positive attitude.
“I didn't leave the house for a long time. I didn't come to the gym to workout. I just was in a terrible place,” he says.
He says it took the support of his wife and family to lift himself up and get his sense of independence back.
“Don't allow people to do everything for you,” he advises. “Because that is the beginning of the end of your life.”
Horton says, even though others may admire his perseverance, he does not believe he is an inspiration. Rather, he says he is simply someone who has had to adapt and says everyone has something in their lives they need to power through.
“Don't give up. Don't quit. Life is to be enjoyed, no matter what your affliction is.”
In Horton’s case, the real strength comes from more than the weights.