I’m Mariella, I am 26 years old and based in Vienna, Austria, and I have Usher Syndrome Type 1b.
I am profoundly deaf and received my first cochlear implant at 18 months and my second one at almost three years. Thanks to early bilateral implantation, speech therapy, and the support of my family, I attended mainstream schools and universities. I’ve been educated and raised in an audio environment, I know a little sign language, but I see myself as part of the hearing world. I’ve had no night vision from the age of two, but wasn’t diagnosed with Usher Syndrome until the age of 12, USH1b was genetically confirmed, when I was already 16.
I am absolutely in love with sports and Usher Syndrome can’t stop me from skiing off-piste or competitive skiing. I also used to play ice hockey and tennis but gave them up due to my vision loss. I graduated from Law School with a Master of Law in 2021 and achieved a second Master’s degree in Medical Law in 2022. Next to my work (following my passion, the combination of Family Law and Medical Law), traveling is a very important aspect of my life. I love capturing new impressions with my camera to preserve them. One thing is for sure: challenges shouldn’t stop you from following your dreams!
One of my most important dreams is, that my remaining vision can be saved – the sooner, the better – and that I won’t lose any more visual function. I’d be happy to be able to continue to follow my dreams without facing any additional major obstacles. (Vienna, December 2022)