17-year old fencer, Cosette Dunkle A teenage client of Lighthouse of SW Florida named Cosette Dunkle has been selected to compete in the National Finals in Fencing in St. Louis. Here is more about this 17-year old’s inspirational story.

Cosette learned at age 6 that she has 4 rare eye conditions: Monofixation syndrome/accommodations spasm/blurred vision/myopia with astigmatism. Despite these obstacles, Cosette is seeking to become a Pediatric Oncologist and with technology taught at Lighthouse of SWFL now knows her goal is certainly attainable.  A quote from this young lady is, “I am doing the things people told me I could never do,” including competing at the highest level the first week of July at the National Finals of Fencing in St. Louis where she will compete with fully sighted competitors for the National Championship!  No accommodations for her visual impairment will be made! 

Cosette Dunkle competing in a fencing match


Also, Cosette was awarded to be a delegate at the Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living Youth Leadership Forum in Tallahassee the week of July 18. 

If you’d like to donate to help fund Cosette’s travel expenses to the National Finals of Fencing and the Leadership Forum, please send your donations to: Lighthouse of SW Florida, “Fending Project Fund,” 35 W. Mariana Ave., North Fort Myers, FL 33903-5515 or contact director Doug Fowler at dfowler@lighthouseswfl.org

Lighthouse SW FL logo


For anyone able to come support Cosette, here is information about the location and time from her Mom:

Cosette is competing at the America Center @ 701 Convention Plaza in St. Louis. She is in 2 different events:

  1. Tuesday, July 3rd, Division 2 Women’s Foil. Check-in ends at 2 pm.
  2. Thursday, July 5th, Division 3 Women’s Foil. Check-in ends at 4pm.

Once check-in has ended the event coordinators will assemble the pool groups. So first she will compete in Pools, then if she makes the ‘cut’ she will compete in Direct Eliminations until she loses. There are 168 fencers competing on Tuesday and 160 on Thursday, so the event will take a couple of hours at least.

Note: if anyone does come to see Cosette look for her back that says DUNKLE, then you will find her!