MEET 23-YEAR-OLD Patrick Brown Jr, a piano teacher from Toronto who can barely see past a few feet directly in front of him.
Patrick, who is affectionately called BJ by his family and friends, has had 23 surgeries in 23 years to install, repair or replace a shunt in his brain that drains the fluid to other areas of the body.
The Brampton-born-and-raised Alliston resident, who volunteers in Toronto, was born with hydrocephalus as a result of prenatal trauma.
Hydrocephalus causes a buildup of too much cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. The fluid in his brain damaged his retinas, causing him to become clinically blind.
Despite it all, Brown remains positive and loves to share his passion for music. Certified to teach beginners piano, he’s already had a few students, has helped teach at music camps and currently volunteers at UrbanArts — an arts-based program for youth in Toronto’s Weston/Mount Dennis community.
“I just grew up around music. My dad got me into it. He used to play his old-time music, back when they had cassette tapes,” said Patrick, who is named after his father.