“My family loved watching me at the football games,” Arielle Chikovsky, A.B. ’02, says of playing trumpet in UM’s Band of the Hour. “The television camera always seemed to fixate on me. With my red hair and green band uniform, I was the embodiment of UM’s colors.”

A graduate of Thomas Cooley Law School, Chikovsky is an attorney in her father’s Hollywood, Florida firm, and has sky dived in New Zealand and scuba dived in Australia—all this despite extensive hearing loss since age 2 and night-blindness and loss of peripheral vision, or retinitis pigmentosa, since early in law school. Combined, these impairments led to a diagnosis of the hereditary Usher syndrome.

“My family and I dealt with the challenges of my hearing loss fairly successfully throughout my childhood, only to find out that I would face the double disability of deaf/blindness. This really changed my perspective on life.” Genetic testing reveals that Chikovsky’s three brothers and four sisters are not likely to develop Usher syndrome.

In May Chikovsky won $25,000 in American Eagle Outfitter’s Live Your Life contest, which she donated to Hope for Vision, “a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding treatments and cures for retinal degenerative diseases like Usher.” Hope for Vision created “Arielle’s Dream Fund,” through which Chikovsky hopes to raise $1 million to promote research and awareness for blinding conditions.

Chikovsky’s parents, Fred Chikovsky, A.B. ’78, J.D. ’81, and Sara Chikovsky, A.B. ’78, J.D. ’82, and her sisters Danielle Chikovsky, A.B. ’05, and Samantha (Chikovsky) Wiener, have long supported Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit through Project: New Born and the Women’s Cancer League benefiting the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Chikovsky says her sister, Honey, is likely the next ’Cane in the family, with brothers Max, Zack, and Rafe, and sister Liza soon to follow.

Athletic since childhood, Chikovsky says, “I had always wanted to sky dive and scuba dive but never seemed to make the time or the opportunity to do them. After my diagnosis, I ‘jumped’ at the chance.”

— Leonard Nash