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Julie and Lowell honoured they could inspire others while running ‘The Amazing Race Canada’

Running “The Amazing Race Canada” would be a challenging task for anyone, let alone someone who is legally blind.

But for Lowell Taylor, the first contestant on any version of “The Amazing Race” to attempt such a feat, he saw it as an opportunity rather than a roadblock. 

It’s the same attitude the 34-year-old registered psychologist, who ran the “Race” with his wife Julie, has in every aspect of his life. 

“Being able to re-frame it from a disability to an opportunity is something that gets me through so instead of ‘look at all the things that I’ve lost it’s (look at) what have I gained,’” says Lowell, who has a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP).

As well as “The Amazing Race Canada,” Lowell also points to the chance to hopefully go to the Paralympics (he’s currently training to compete in the Para-Triathlon and Para-Cycling events) and do public speaking. 

“It’s hard to lose vision and there’s been moments of really being down but if I can provide some hope and inspiration to people (that helps). As it gets worse, I’m going to have to keep grieving those losses each time. (But) I think I can, with the right support, achieve my dreams,” he says as he looks to his wife Julie. 

Julie adds they’ve also received a ton of messages from people who have been inspired watching the show.

“The most meaningful messages have been from people with disabilities or people with visual impairments and also people with children with visual impairments and how they’ve been watching the show with their kids and they feel encouraged their kids now have someone to look up to that didn’t let that get in their way.” 

Lowell, who has no peripheral vision, reduced central vision and no vision in low light, realized along the “Race” that the little vision he does have left is getting worse.

He says while he is able to manage going about his daily routine at home in Lethbridge, Alta., navigating a race in unfamiliar places proved to be a lot more difficult. 

“It’s always getting worse and we’ve just been living our lives and raising kids and going to work  … but this being traveling in a race we had to travel to new places without maps, without technology and GPS and it just made it really hard to get around in new environments.

“I was running into things, I was hitting my head on water taxis, in and out of cabs, there were lots and lots of challenges that weren’t shown.”

Julie says in light of all that, they are so proud they made it as far as they did. Their time on the “Race” ended this week in Kingston, Ont., after a timed bubble soccer challenge proved to be a difficult task for Lowell, which put them behind the other teams and struggling to catch up the rest of the leg. 

“We were very grateful to even have made it that far, we knew we were lucky to even be cast and then to make seven legs, that was amazing. But also disappointing we did feel like we had more potential at that point but then again the silver lining, too, was that we knew if we were eliminated we’d get to communicate with our kids again,” says Julie.

One of the reasons Lowell wanted to do “The Amazing Race Canada” was to see parts of Canada and the world before he goes completely blind. 

“Falling from the Skytram (in Jasper), you can’t even pay to do this. It was just amazing and to see it was a beautiful day out and rappelling, just floating down the Calgary Tower … and then the tugboat of course (in Haida Gwaii), moments I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” says Lowell.

“It’s been an honour. We did want to go in there and be good ambassadors for marriage and for people overcoming obstacles so I think we achieved that.”

To help support Lowell’s journey to the 2020 Paralympic Games click here

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