Sixteen-year-old Jake Olson is mastering school, sports and just about everything else he tries. He's even written a new book called "Open Your Eyes: 10 Uncommon Lessons to Discover a Happier Life." He does all of this while tackling a major obstacle: blindness.
When he golfs, Jake's dad, Brian Olson,
helps him line up the ball and tells him the distance and Jake does the rest. Unless someone saw his dad put the ball down, it’s doubtful anyone would
know he had any type of impairment.
“There's been times where, you know, my dad has lined me up and I've, you know, struck a ball, and people have been like, ‘Oh, I wish, you know, I could be lined up,’” said Jake. “And then, we're like, ‘Oh, I'm blind.’ And they're like, ‘Oh, shoot, like I'm so sorry.’
Jake was just 10 months old when his left eye was removed because of a rare form of cancer."As a parent you want to switch places, you want to say, let me be that, let me do that, let this baby be a baby,” said Brian Olson.
The cancer returned eight times. When Jake was 12 he learned he would also lose his right eye and go blind. His mom, Cindy Olson, recalls the morning of the surgery.
“I went into his room to wake him up, and I couldn't even wake him up without crying and he started crying,” she said. “I just laid in bed with him and cried you know, 'cause it's a loss.
Knowing he was facing a lifetime of darkness, Jake had spent his last month of sight making memories and on his final car ride to the hospital, his mom told CBS News’ Ben Tracy “he was just taking it all in.”
“You know, he was looking at the sunrise, and … all the landmarks,” she said. “It was just breaking my heart. It was just awful.”
Jake told Tracy the last thing he remembers seeing the ceiling at the hospital.
“I remember taking one last look at my parents and just kinda looking at the white ceiling of the hospital and thinking this is the last thing I'm gonna see,” he said
However, when Jake woke up, he started focusing in what he could do.
He recently shot a 78 on 18 holes and hopes to be the first blind golfer on the PGA tour. He also plays football. Jake is the long snapper on his high school team. A few claps and a tap on his leg and he knows where to hike the ball and he savors every win with his teammates.
Jake told Tracy that it feels “awesome” to be out on the football field, knowing that he’s contributing to a team.
“Just knowing that I got that job, knowing that I was gonna be able to go out there on Friday nights and help my team was just an awesome feeling,” he said.
Jake also gives motivational talks and in them, he says, he believes being blind is part of God’s plan for his life. He told Tracy that he never questioned that plan.
“I never said ‘Why me?’ I always had my faith he knows what he's doing and obviously he does,” he said.
Jake has now written a new book called "Open Your Eyes." McKay Christensen is his co-author.
“Sometimes we think, ‘Oh I can't do that, or I've tried it before, couldn't happen.’ But when we have a belief window that says, ‘No, anything is possible despite my setbacks,' things will improve,” he said. “That comes to pass and we see that in Jake's life perfectly.”
Jake is a 16-year-old who's proving you don't need sight to see life clearly.
“Just have that confidence that you can do whatever you want, and then go out there and do it,” he said.