Vivian Stancil is blind. She was raised in foster homes, divorced and living on welfare with 2 children by the time she was 20. At 50, she weighed 319 pounds and doctors told her she’d never make it to age 60 if she didn’t lose weight. She was terrified of the water, had never been in a swimming pool in her life but she joined a learn to swim program. Today at 75 she is one of the most inspirational swimmers on any pool deck, competing in masters swimming competitions around the country.
Competing at the 2022 National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Vivian told Growing Bolder about the example she hopes she is setting for others.
“I will not ever give up. I’m not a give up person,” Stancil explained. “I talked to a lady in New Mexico [at the 2019 National Senior Games.] She said, ‘I wish.’ I said ‘Don’t talk to me about I wish, do it. Get in there and do it.’ And that’s what I say to all. You don’t have to swim, but you need to move.”
“I believe the moral of the Vivian Stancil story is how Vivian touched many lives by people witnessing what Vivian is doing,” Stancil continued. “You will not ever hear me say poor Vivian. You will not ever hear me say because I’m blind I can’t do it. I can do anything that I put my heart to doing.”
On a recent episode of Growing Bolder’s “What’s Next” , Marc Middleton discussed how he has seen others learn from Stancil’s example.
“Everything about her screams to everyone who is watching ‘I have no excuses,'” Middleton said. “When you see her do her thing, you realize you don’t have any excuses to do your own thing.”