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Blind BC Grad Helps Visually Impaired Boy Climb Rock Walls

WATERTOWN (CBS) -- Connor Mcleod has successfully climbed a 35-foot wall inside the Central Rock Gym in Watertown, but this isn't the first time he's achieved the feat.

The 14-year-old Australian says he's had some harder walls and some easier ones, too, along the way.

Mcleod made it all the way to the top with the help of Erik Weihenmayer, a visually impaired adventurer who's been his role model.

"Being blind, it's really important to have a sense of space, of balance, of body awareness," the Boston College graduate told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Bernice Corpuz.

Weihenmayer was on the other end of the rope when Mcleod reached the top on Thursday.

"Two blind guys are trusting each other with their lives, so it's all good," he said.

Mcleod hasn't let his visual impairment stop him.

"That's been my motto for everything," he said. "Not just rock climbing. Do what you have to do, (and) keep pushing."

Growing up blind, he's faced a lot of rock walls, but one particular life experience pushed him to make a significant change.

"It was Christmas of 2012, and I'd gotten some money," Mcleod recalled, adding that he couldn't tell how much he'd received and had to ask his family.

He decided to campaign to have Braille added to Australia's currency. Mcleod and Weihenmayer also have teamed up to promote Braille literacy.

"The big thing with being visually impaired is the increased need for independence," he said. "You don't want to be relying on people who aren't going to be there one day, so you need to read your be able to get anywhere."

Australia will be the 28th country to have the tactile feature added to bank notes. Mcleod's family is urging the United States to do the same.

For his accomplishment, Mcleod received the Hands On Award from the National Braille Press at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel on Thursday.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Bernice Corpuz reports

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