Have you heard of Patrick Henry Hughes? Have you seen him on ABC’s Extreme Makover? Have you seen him as a member of the University of Louisville’s marching band? Have you seen him on ESPN? Have you seen him on Oprah or Ellen? Have you seen him on YouTube along with 2.1 million others? Hopefully you have seen him, but unfortunately Patrick will never see you. Patrick is blind.
Nearly 21 years ago, Patrick was born with a condition that does not allow him to fully stretch his arms and legs. In addition he was born with no eyes. A father’s dreams of his first born son becoming a star on the football field were dashed, but only temporarily.
Patrick Henry Hughes did not learn any sports but went on to learn the piano at an early age and had an astonishing gift for playing back notes he would hear. Through encouragement and lessons, Patrick Henry Hughes not only learned how to play the piano, but now sings and plays many other instruments. His love for music eventually brought him to become a member of the marching band for the University of Louisville - along with his dad. Patrick plays the trumpet in a wheelchair as his Dad pushes him on the field. He became a star on the football field after all. To be eligible for the band, Patrick’s father works a graveyard shift at UPS and then attends Patrick’s classes with him during the day.
Patrick and his father do not see Patrick as someone who has disabilities but rather someone with “difabilities” or different abilities. With a “can do” attitude, Patrick has been featured all over the country singing, playing and talking about his story with his father. Much like the Hoyts who run triathons, the Hughes father-son team prove once again that the bond of a parent with their child conquers all.
Special thanks to South Dakota Achieve for bringing Patrick and his father to their GreenStar Symposium. And thanks to Patrick John Hughes - for showing us what unconditional love can do to positively impact a child’s life. If you want to know more, their new book, “I Am Potential,” was released earlier this week. And look for Patrick Henry Hughes in the future to realize his dreams of becoming an internatonal ambassador for the U.S., a singer or a gameshow host. Knowing his outlook on life, he’ll no doubt realize all three dreams.
Update: The following week of this post, the Hughes duo appeared on the Today Show.