Steve Obeid began losing his sight as a teenager, but that didn’t obscure his personal vision to become an athlete representing Australia, and an aspiring sports teacher.
The 25-year-old recently appeared on Channel 9 TV show Millionaire Hot Seat, winning $50,000 and gaining a national platform to become even more of an inspiration to others living with a disability.
“When I was 13, after returning from a family trip to my parents’ birth country of Lebanon, I noticed my vision had rapidly deteriorated. It was difficult to accept the diagnosis of Stargardt disease, an inherited form of macular degeneration that causes central vision loss.
My life’s trajectory had changed – previous goals like getting my driver’s licence or becoming an electrician were not to be – but I adjusted my mindset to get the most out of every experience.
I gained mobility and independence support from Vision Australia and Guide Dogs Victoria.
Throughout it all, my love of sport has been my one constant. Playing soccer, cricket and athletics gave me something to look forward to. Sport elevates me to another realm. I’m part of Australia’s blind and low vision futsal team, Australian blind cricketers and an Aussie Rules vision impaired league.
Nothing could be more fulfilling for me than combining my love of sport with a career guiding the next generation; so I set my sights on becoming a PE teacher.
In Year 12 I did VCAL – a great balance of theory and hands-on experience – and I came out with a Certificate III and IV in Sport & Recreation.
I also prefer the practical element of studying at VU; we do sport and fitness sessions, biology and physiology. My goal is to eventually do a Master of Teaching so I can register to become a teacher.
I am the first member of my family to go to uni, which I’m proud of. VU lecturers have been supportive and accommodating for me, they always offered help and they’re very understanding.
The opportunity suddenly arose to appear on Channel 9 TV show Millionaire Hot Seat a
fter I applied years ago. I wasn’t nervous at all – I’m used to cameras, playing national sports and my creative hobby of making films. With my winnings, I’m planning to travel to Europe once the pandemic is over – my dream is to go to soccer games in each country!”