Born prematurely at the tail end of 1982, Marc has been a fighter from the start.
Because of health complications, the future hero in disguise was immediately flown to another hospital by helicopter. A two hour drive from home, Marc went onto spend the first month of his life there under intense care and observation. A few years later, after many bouts of illness, he had surgery to insert a VP shunt: This tube would drain fluid from the head to his stomach. In 1988, another operation was performed to lengthen it for the last time.
Growing Up Rocheleau
Despite these early setbacks, Marc lived a mostly normal childhood. Still able to see at the time and having an active imagination, he started elementary school in 1986. Wearing eyeglasses already, the four-eyed phenom wasn’t very athletic however. Because of his poor health as a baby and continued medical conditions, Marc was usually drawn to artistic pursuits.
While no one claimed he was an art prodigy, his interests veered towards storytelling and multimedia at a young age. When getting together with his best friend, the two made their own radio shows on cassette tape and videos featuring sketches they put together. Not having a video camera at home though, Marc didn’t come back to these forms of expression until later in high school.
Until then, the imaginary auteur used real life as his canvas. This meant plotting out elaborate stories with classmates and inventing mysteries to solve during recess: It even extended to a pretend video game that revolved around… numbers? Okay, maybe young Marc was a nerd.
High School Bruisical
Heading into adolescence, Marc began high school in 1996 where the transition was sometimes difficult. While not outright bullied, the minor niner developed self-confidence issues due to harassment from other students.
As some friends began partying, the less-adventurous teen mostly stayed at home and became an introvert. Having just gotten the internet, Marc didn’t see a reason to go out when he could build a judgement-free life online. While it wasn’t healthy, his attachment to the web still created an important chain of events down the road.
It also let our hormonal hero zero in on his interests. Spending lots of time on the internet, Marc learnt webpage design and used software to create digital graphics. While these skills didn’t always translate to high school, he took art or computers every year. By the end, he wasn’t too shabby either.
This all led to Marc’s last two semesters where he focused more heavily on his own interests. For fun, the visionary took a grade 11 media class and participated in the morning radio announcements. He was also invested in creating video content and learning to edit his projects. By the end of the semester, he and another classmate were teaching everyone (including the teacher) how to use the software.
In January 2001, the designing dynamo started a placement doing webpage work for the school board. After a custodial strike though, he was moved to a nearby town where his work earned him a summer job. Marc’s boss became a life-long friend too, helping him even more the following year.
Saved By The Blindness: The College Years
Starting the computer systems technician program in 2001, the website warlord immediately felt overwhelmed. Despite knowing a few people in the program and some friends who went to the same college, it was obviously a different atmosphere.
Although Marc’s main focus was webpage design, the course was geared more heavily toward other programming languages. Only one class dealt with photoshop and math was a prominent part of the equation as well: (Despite his nerdy grade school games, Marc had long since learnt to hate math like any normal human at that point.)
About a week into the quest for higher learning however, this campus calamity took a backseat to more important issues. Around the time of 9-11, Marc started having nausea and headaches. They soon worsened to the point where he began missing classes sporadically. Although he tried soldiering through, the illness eventually landed Marc in the hospital on and off for roughly three months. During this time he experienced rapid weight-loss, compromised equilibrium and ultimately total blindness.
As specialists attempted to solve this medical puzzle, Marc was transported two hours away from home again. A battery of tests were performed with no conclusive findings to show for it. Eventually his health improved on its own and, despite being hospitalized one more time with pneumonia inDecember, Marc was discharged to try and figure out his new normal. (It still beat taking math though.)
Marc’s Second Act
Regrouping in the months after returning home, it took awhile for Marc to adjust. With friends by his side however, he slowly started using a white cane in the spring. Combined with an active social life again, it wasn’t long before the casual caner gained back some self-confidence.
As summer rolled by, Marc was assessed for an accessible computer and eventually reconnected to the internet in fall 2002. Mostly teaching himself how to use his narration software, this gave Marc another boost. Not long after, his former boss was in contact and offered him a job helping with the website once again. Although they weren’t sure exactly what he’d do, the two quickly realized that Marc could easily handle managing a newsletter and writing occasional articles.
Enjoying the writing process, the newly re-minted auteur entertained the idea of applying to his local college’s journalism program. Pushed by his dad as well, Marc talked to a friend of his boss who taught there before going through with it. (Hey, he wouldn’t even have to take math either!)
While the beacon of blindness initially ran into some complications, he was eventually accepted. Although it wasn’t intended as such, the experience would also change Marc’s life forever. For more on that though, you’ll have to read The Blindnamic Duo’s bio and listen to their podcast. (We can’t give EVERYTHING away on here!)
– Marc’s favourite colours are purple and orange — his favour number is four.
– Marc has always been blind in his right eye due to a slashed cornea at birth.
– Marc was baptized three times due to poor health.
– Marc wore a scleral lens growing up due to poor muscle development around his right eye.
– Marc is the only blind graduate of his college’s journalism program.
– Marc’s favourite bands/artists are U2, Matthew Good, Our Lady Peace and Radiohead