“I had a fear of heights before, but now that I am blind I don’t have that anymore.” – Barry Weatherall

Barry Weatherall’s story is a testimony that beyond every dark cloud is a silver lining.  Barry was working as a plumber in a heating company in Red Deer, Alta when a chemical accident claimed his sight in 1998.  He suffered third degree burns on his face and underwent 21 surgeries in an attempt to save his left eye.  The operations didn’t prove to be fruitful, leaving Barry quite literally, in the dark.


Six months after his accident, Barry started moving forward again with his life.  He started by learning to maneuver his way around his house with a cane and then getting himself a guide dog named, Opie .  Slowly but surely, Barry found his footing again.  For the past years, he has been going around visiting companies across Canada, sharing his story and bringing eye safety awareness to workers and employers.  He conducts workshops to oilpatch and construction companies as a representative of CNIB’s Eye Safety Program.

He has found a new purpose in life. After surviving the accident and making it through the recovery process, he felt that he can do something else. Aside from his new-found civic calling, Barry also discovered and embarked on a whole new life adventure – outdoor and sports adventures.

His lack of sight never made it impossible for Barry to enjoy the fun the outdoors has to offer.  As a matter of fact, it became his motivation to experience life, to live life.  At 51, Barry is into swimming, rock climbing, horseback riding, and traveling.  With a passenger as a guide, he can still drive!  Lately, Barry picked up a paddle and started braving the rough waters and waves of whitewater rafting.  Last June 2012, Barry competed and completed his 3rd triathlon. Barry continues to learn new things.  Now, he is also into golf and even blind paintball.

Barry’s story is truly remarkable.  In 2010 filmmakers, Marilyn Bright and Michael Klekamp produced a full-length documentary entitled, ‘Brillant’, featuring Barry himself.  The documentary showed Barry’s extraordinary stamina and spirit to conquer new things and ascend new heights without his sight.  The documentary received several citations and awards from various festivals.

Today, Barry continues to inspire people and change their outlooks in life.

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