Seeing With Your Heart

Seeing With Your Heart

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MOBILE, Ala. -

Doing the impossible is nothing new for 16-year-old Jacob Simons.

Recently, Jacob, who is from Mobile, won a prestigious award in the state of Alabama. His painting, titled, "The Ocean" won first place in an art contest.

It doesn't seem too impossible, but Jacob is blind.

When Jacob was two years old, his mom, Jessica Wickel, noticed something different about his pupils.

"I just had this gut feeling. They're like, 'It's probably nothing,' and I was like that's not it, something's not right," said Wickel.

She was right. Jacob had two tumors; one behind each eye. When he was just 4 years old, doctors had to remove his eyes.

But, nothing stops Jacob. He has a zest for life. When he was 7 years old, he started playing t-ball.

That was just the beginning.

Jacob now runs track, wrestles, is on the swim team, horseback rides, and plays on the goal ball team at The Alabama Institute for the Blind.. All while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Now, Jacob can add painting to that list. His award winning painting is made of drywall mud. He used his hands to create it, making waves by creating "bumps" in the dry wall.

His painting was part of the Helen Keller art show contest. Jacob took home the blue ribbon. He competed against 36 other blind or visually impaired students from across the state. All of the paintings are on tour right now, but Jacob's will hang in the Helen Keller Art Museum in Tuscumbia.

"I was very, very impressed with my painting skills," said Jacob.

Jacob already has another goal. He'd like to win two years in a row, by creating a sunset piece next year.

The paintings are currently at the University of South Alabama Library. They'll hang there until September 27th. Then, they will move to the University of Birmingham.

Jacob has been cancer-free for 11 years.

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