Jake Olson

Benefitting Out of Sight Faith Foundation

Jake Olson was born with cancer in his left eye and by the age of twelve he was told that his right eye would also need to be removed. His last wish of sight was to watch his beloved USC Trojans play football one last time. Few would imagine that years later Jake would become a Division 1 football player himself after being asked to join the Trojans team as a long snapper. Today, he talks about coming of age as a blind boy, how life isn’t fair, that there is always something to be grateful for, and that no matter what you can find a way to do the things you love.

In Today’s Episode

  • Born with cancer in left eye and the surgeries and treatments that followed

  • Jake learns he will have surgery in his right eye and will become completely blind 

  • His last wish with sight --- to watch a USC Trojans football game in person

  • Jake is accepted to USC and asked to be the long snapper on the Trojan’s football team

  • On finding a way to have the life you want and deserve regardless of your circumstances

Wise Words

  • “It’s a real tormenting thought, I guess, to be told you’re gonna be losing your eyesight and never be able to see again.  I mean, it’s a very uncertain future. It’s one that you have to relearn how to read and write and walk around and go to school and orient yourself and figure out how you’re going to, again, just live life.  If that’s making sure you know how much water’s in your glass to toothpaste on your toothbrush to figuring out what’s going on in a movie. I mean, there’s just literally pretty much every aspect of life has to be rearranged and you have to find new ways of doing things.”

  • “I was like, ‘Okay, you have a month and a half here to see.  What do you want to do?’ It’s like, ‘well, I just wanna go to as many Trojan games as I can.’”

  • “Absolutely with USC, it was kind of a safe haven in the sense that when I was with the team, when I was within these walls, it really was a different reality.  It was like I was escaping the world that I was facing on the outside.”

  • “I definitely wasn’t... I wasn’t sad, per se.  I realized my reality, and it was just, ‘Let’s go move on now and figure out how we’re going to live life and do the things I want to do.’”

  • “I knew in my head it would be so much easier if I could see.  But at the same time, I knew it wasn’t impossible, because I couldn’t see.  And so I just had to put my head down and find a way.”

  • “But there’s been so many times where people would tell me a girl is really attractive and I just don’t see it. There’s times where there’s a girl who’s not the most attractive in the world, but I think she’s really attractive just because of her personality. And I think in that sense, it is cool, because I do get to see people for what they are, and that’s what they say, and what comes from their heart.”

  • “No one’s ever gotten to that top of the mountain and have accomplished their goals and looked back and said, ‘That was so easy.  I can’t believe how easy that was.’ You know? That’s just not how life works.”

  • “Have fun with life, joke around, put a smile on your face, change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.  Be grateful, have that mindset of always being grateful for something and not letting the adversity stop you in life in doing the things you love...When you’re on your deathbed looking back on life, the only thing that you’re gonna be able to blame for not doing the things you love and not doing the things you want to do is you.”

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Laine Carlsness