“Blindness Is Not a Challenge, It’s Just a Characteristic.”
“For them to make it so far and to have done so much so early, that is a glimpse of what they are going to do throughout their lives as adults. It’s just the beginning,” Ollie says.
To Ollie, Leo, Nick, and Steven, their blindness is not a challenge but merely a characteristic. They believe that, through hard work, they can accomplish anything they put their minds to. “I feel that for me, the Lord has given so many blessings in having this disability,” Steven says.
“Personally, I just submit my life to the Lord and try to be the best person I can be. That is my way of living,” Nick says.
“Sometimes people think our number one prayer is to be healed. That is honestly not on our minds. We just feel the way we are is the way the Lord made us, and because of that, we are grateful for who we are. It is the experience of blindness that positively binds us together, and that’s why we are a family now. We are just here to improve a little every day. We don’t feel that being blind is such a big deal. The real problem that comes with blindness is what people think about blindness; it’s not the blindness itself,” Ollie says. “God loves us just as we are, and he does not make mistakes.”
Every day, the Cantos Family feels grateful for being Latter-day Saints, and as they continue to serve others, both through their callings within the Church and through helping others in additional ways, their testimonies become stronger, which motivates them to serve more. “We do more because we love the Lord so much, and we know that happiness is in the journey right now as we keep counting our blessings and feeling the gratitude that comes with knowing that we have the gospel in our lives," Ollie says. "We have such a deep love for one another and for the opportunity to give and to grow. We are grateful to live our lives under the guidance of the scriptures and as led by President Nelson.”
Steven and Leo are both planning to attend George Mason University this August to start their degree in legal studies in preparation for their becoming attorneys. Nick will also begin his freshman year in August but at Southern Virginia University, whose student body is 90 percent LDS. He has already started his own business and wants to be successful as an entrepreneur. Seeing his sons each reach great achievements and surpass their own expectations, Ollie said he believes the best formula for parenting is being centered in the gospel, along with being consistent, loving your children, and recognizing their unique abilities and talents.
“It makes me realize even more the depth to which a father can love his children. My love for Leo, Nick, and Steven is literally beyond description,” Ollie says. “You would need to give me a billion years to describe, to think, and reflect on how much love I have for them. It is just a glimpse into and a fraction of the love that our Heavenly Father has for us as His children,” Ollie says.
“Life has taught me that I can be a good person and I can help others. I understand that things can be difficult sometimes, but I know that with the Lord, I can be me and be proud of it,” Nick says.
“It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor or what disability that you have. What matters most is that you take what you have and adapt it to your situation. For me, it has been a hard eight years because I push myself to the limit. But I know that, over all this time, I have made myself into a better person. This wouldn’t be possible without the Lord. I believe if people continue to do what is right, in the end, they will be able to make it where they need to be,” Leo says.
“I can’t tell you how much love I have for my dad. [Without him] I would not have had these experiences. That relationship is foreordained. The Lord has definitely helped us out,” Steven says.
“We know that families can be together forever,” Ollie says. “Our time here on earth is just the beginning of the rest of our existence throughout all eternity. People have asked us what keeps you guys so close. It’s our love for our Savior that does it.”