- Rebecca Alexander is a psychotherapist, spin instructor, volunteer, and an extreme athlete who is almost completely blind and deaf. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she currently lives in New York City with her goldendoodle Olive.
No one would blame Rebecca Alexander if she gave up on life. Born with a rare genetic disorder called Usher syndrome type III, Rebecca has been simultaneously losing both her sight and hearing since she was a teenager. She was told that by age 30, she’d be completely blind. Then, at 19, one year after a fall from a second-story window left her athletic body completely shattered, she discovered she would lose her hearing as well. Despite these difficulties, Rebecca refused to lose her drive and zest for life and rose above and beyond every challenge she faced.
As she says herself, “my disability means it may take me longer to accomplish my goals. And I may need more people to help me in my efforts. But, it will never stop me from achieving what I set out to do.”
Day after day, challenge after challenge, Rebecca stresses how important it is to be grateful for every sound, every sight and every sense. Now, at 37, with only a sliver of sight and significantly deteriorated hearing, Rebecca is a psychotherapist with two master’s degrees from Columbia University. She is an athlete who teaches spin classes and regularly competes in extreme endurance races. Rebecca greets every day as if it were gift, with her boundless energy, innate curiosity, and a strength of spirit that have led her to places we can’t imagine. As a teenager, she was selected to be an Olympic torchbearer as part of the nationwide relay prior to the Atlanta Games in 1996 for her ability to face adversity with grace and courage. Participating in the 600-mile San Francisco to Los Angeles AIDS bike ride, skydiving, bungee jumping, and regularly competing in the Civilian Military Combine (CMC) for extreme athletes are among her extraordinary feats.
Rebecca works with individuals, couples, and groups, specializing in the treatment of addiction, anxiety, and mood disorders. She is a Lululemon Athletica Ambassador and an extreme athlete who teaches spin classes and metabolic conditioning. In 2015, she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and swam from Alcatraz to show in the San Francisco Bay. She was honored with the American Foundation for the Blind Helen Keller Achievement Award in 2016. In October 2017, The Disability Rights Advocates will be honoring both Rebecca and Starbucks with the Eagle Award at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in NYC. In late October, Rebecca will be presenting at Grand Rounds at the Cleveland Clinic. In December 2017, Rebecca will receive the University of Michigan Bicentennial Alumni Award.
Rebecca is known for her sense of humor, and she is also an attentive listener. Consistently upbeat, Rebecca gives encouragement and inspiration to others who are facing their own challenges, whether physical or emotional, and whether in interpersonal relationships or in the workplace.
Not Fade Away is Rebecca’s first book.