There are several traders and successful women in the financial sector that have achieved so much with nothing but their sheer will and hard work. But there are some who against all odds fought their way up to the top. One such is the life of Lauren Oplinger.
Hailing from Summit in New Jersey, Lauren joined JP Morgan in 2008, soon after she graduated from Holy Cross in Massachusetts. Her life took a sudden downturn a year later when an airborne infection took away her sight.
The mysterious illness which entered through her lungs affected each of her organs after spreading through her bloodstream. She entered a cardiac arrest and both her kidneys failed. She clung to her life for a month at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey with the help from life support machines.
It was in April that she finally opened her eyes taking over her illness. But then, she had lost her vision completely. She then spent a few months in New Jersey, trying to recover her vision. She slowly began to distinguish between light and dark and could also spot shadows.
Despite all this, she never gave up on her responsibilities at JP Morgan. In September 2009, she resumed work. Today she works by a monitoring the market through three 24-inch computer screens. She also uses text-to-speech software that reads out her emails. She slowly learned, getting used to her new work atmosphere – “I made mistakes, I think everybody has made mistakes, but for me it’s been more of a learning process.”
Today, she still has trouble with her sight; she cannot see the objects that lie directly in front of her, make out people’s faces and has trouble with the various street signs. Yet, she walks to work from her apartment every day.
Lauren does not see her troubled vision a burden but as her strength. “I think a lot of people look at it as a strength — it’s a true testament to how strong I am and determined”, she says.