Craig MacFarlane grew up in the small town of Desbarats nestled on the shore of Lake Huron just outside of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. At the age of 2 while playing with a group of friends in the backyard Craig was accidently struck in the left eye by a striker, which is predominantly used for lighting a welding torch. Within 6 weeks he developed a rare eye disease, sympathetic ophthalmia which left him totally blind in both eyes. His parents would often say, “We didn’t know how to raise a blind kid, so we just raised a kid.” Their positive attitude would provide the solid foundation that made Craig’s incredible journey possible. This would shape his attitude where he never looked at his blindness as a handicap, rather just a minor inconvenience.
At the age of 6, Craig’s life changed dramatically when he was required to attend the only School for the Blind in Canada located 500 miles from his family. He would only get home three times a year, Christmas, spring break and summer holiday. It was at this school where Craig would learn to walk his talk before he ever knew what his talk was at such a young age. He was introduced to the sport of wrestling at the age of 7. It was the only sport where a blind person could compete on an equal level with sighted opponents. Craig immediately gravitated to the sport which culminated in him winning 7 consecutive Blind National Wrestling Championships. In addition, he would win over 93% of his lifetime wrestling matches against sighted competition.
By the time he graduated high school, 3 documentaries had aired on Canadian networks depicting Craig’s unusual and amazing achievements both inside and outside the world of athletics.
At the age of 19, Craig was invited by Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe to live with him and his wife, Colleen in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Gordie secured his first job in the marketing department of the Hartford Whalers of the National Hockey League where they shared an office together.
Shortly after moving to America, Craig would electrify the snow skiing world by winning the Blind National Downhill Championship in Alta, Utah following his guide skier in excess of 50 miles per hour. In addition, he would win 2 Blind National Water-Skiing Championships and punctuate his athletic career by winning the Blind World Water Skiing Championship on the Fjords above Oslo, Norway. Pushing the envelope and challenging his comfort zone Craig fulfilled a lifetime dream to be paid as a professional athlete when he became the first totally blind person in the world water ski jumping in the famous shows at Cypress Gardens, Florida.
It was the Howes’ that quickly recognized Craig’s wonderful ability and ease in communicating with people and channeled him into an inspirational speaking career by the age of 20. What has transpired since that time is a truly remarkable, charismatic career that has taken Craig around the world delivering his powerful message to a never-ending stream of audiences which has including numerous Fortune 100 and 500 companies along with a multitude of conferences and conventions. Several high-profile college football teams and professional teams have invited Craig to help elevate their performance.
As a result of his extraordinary success as an athlete, it’s only natural that he has become personal friends with so many celebrities, presidents and was even invited to have an audience with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.
From an early age Craig has been featured in numerous publications and interviewed frequently on television stations across the US and Canada. His story has been featured in the Reader’s Digest, on 60 Minutes International and written up in the New York Times, Washington Times and USA Today just to name a few. He even appeared in Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
This modest yet motivated man, in a classic example of Triumph over Tragedy, has built a remarkable family life and impressive business career on what most consider an enviable scale.
Craig’s priority is spending time with his wife, Patti and their kids, Dalton, Raven, Derek, Ashley and Morgan. Numerous family vacations to Grand Cayman, Hawaii, and various countries in Europe are always such a highlight.
Craig has published 2 autobiographies, Inner Vision and Craig MacFarlane Hasn’t Heard Of You Either and his latest publication, Find Your Flame Through Purpose, Passion, and Sacrifice which is geared for the business professional.