Dany Acosta sits inside the Church of God of Prophecy in Lynn. where he will host a book launch party on Friday. (Jacob Menendez)
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LYNN – Dany Acosta’s life changed dramatically in 2014 when he discovered he was suffering from kidney failure, which led to a stroke, two seizures, 19 surgeries in seven months, 13 hospitalizations and he is become completely blind.
His eyeballs had to be removed due to chronic pain and pressure, and he had to relearn how to walk, eat and live like a blind man.
“I was three years sober when it happened… But before all this chaos in 2014, I was fully sighted, had no health issues that I knew of, and didn’t even need glasses,” Acosta said.
Acosta finally had a kidney transplant, and after everything that happened to him, he never gave up.
Now, at the age of 30, he has published his first book, graduated from North Shore Community College (NSCC) with a 3.94 GPA, graduated from Salem State University (SSU) in 2021 with a degree in social work and a 3.91 GPA, and begins her Masters of Social Work from SSU in May. He also gave the commencement speeches at the NSCC and SSU graduations.
“I may not have the sight, but I have a vision for life,” Acosta said.
In 2015 Acosta went to the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton where he learned to type. He is now able to type on his computer and uses a screen reader application called JAWS to help him.
After learning how to do this, Acosta started writing poems in 2015. The book he recently published, titled “Blindly Painting Words of Love”, is made up of the poems he has written over the years.
“Most, if not all, of the poems in this book were written in a dialysis center in Peabody,” Acosta said. “Many of them were written during my battle with chronic kidney failure.”
Acosta has published poems in magazines before, but this is her first published book.
Before losing his sight, Acosta was a mural artist, but has since adapted his art form to words and poetry.
“I used to write my name — my graffiti name — on people’s walls, but now my goal is to write words of love on people’s hearts,” Acosta said. “Before, I painted words, but now I paint with words.”
While writing his poems, Acosta reflected on how he could bring love into people’s lives and promote self-love.
Her favorite parts of her book are the cover and titles of the book and poems.
“Some of the titles take you out of this world, but they kind of help you reconnect to the world, like ‘Chalking the Rings of Saturn,'” said Acosta. “You think about the planet, but you also think about your childhood in a certain way. The goal was to connect the reader each time to a memory.
Acosta is hosting a gala to celebrate the release of his book on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Iglesia De Dios De La Profecía, which is the former St. Michael’s Hall.
With people having had to miss balls, galas and social events over the past two years due to the pandemic, Acosta said it was an opportunity for people to dress up, do it all and celebrate together. as a community.
“This community has helped me so much in so many ways that I can’t even begin to count,” Acosta said. “I wanted to give back to my own community. It’s a community that encouraged me when I was doing my associate (and) bachelor’s degree, and they continue to encourage me.
Acosta has spent years giving back and helping his community.
He currently works at Centerboard as a Mentorship Coordinator where he recently helped establish an Empowerment Scholarship, which is independent of immigration status, to help students pay for higher education.
“I want to make accessibility accessible to everyone,” Acosta said.
Acosta also advocated for accessibility during his time at SSU.
The social work school isn’t very close to the main SSU campuses, so Acosta advocated having the shuttle stop at the social work building, which was successful after a year of getting sign-offs and meetings with leaders academics.
He also successfully advocated for making all shuttles accessible to people with disabilities, after witnessing the difficulty his wheelchair-bound friend had on campus, making sure everyone could access every building no matter what. ‘he is coming.
“I love that it took a blind person to restore vision to the school,” Acosta said.
Acosta not only plans to continue advocating for equality and accessibility, but also plans to write at least three more books, including one about his story of losing his sight.
For anyone interested in attending the gala or learning more about the book, email [email protected].
“Blindly Painting Words of Love” can be purchased on Amazon in English and Spanish and is available via eBook.