Why I'm running the 2018 Boston Marathon
MY LOVE FOR RUNNING
At the age of 65 I started wondering how I best could serve the Lord and people and at the same time fulfill a lifelong dream of running in the Boston Marathon. Then a few months ago, I sensed a calling from the Lord to begin this endeavor. I qualified to run Boston when I was 19 years old while running cross country and track for Eastern Michigan University. I trained hard, ran 20 miles a day plus interval work for 6 months and was ready to run Boston, but two weeks before the race I became sick and never made it. So now that opportunity has arisen again in the form of a charity runner. I could have attempted at my age to qualify for the Boston but the effort, time commitment and risk of injury, just made it prohibitive. For my age bracket, the qualifying time is 4:10, my best time since my college days is 4:05 at the Chicago marathon at the age of 45. So instead I looked at the available charities that had slots open for charity runners. It’s been many years since I was 19, but I am just as elated now as I was then to run the Boston Marathon. And Lord willing, I’ll never look back with the regret that I didn’t achieve my dream of running in the Boston Marathon. It will be a joy and a blessing to run for an organization that assists others in the very real daily living challenges of those who are blind and or have impaired vision plus it allows me to experience the joy of completing my last marathon in Boston.
MY PREMATURE BIRTH
As some of you are aware, my journey with vision challenges begin at birth. I was born approximately 2.5 months premature weighing only 3.3 lbs. And in 1952, this was considered a high risk birth. Most babies of this period did not survive or were permanently blind or had other developmental issues. Due to my premature birth, I experienced breathing difficulties because my lungs had not fully developed and I was placed in an incubator to assist my lungs and to keep me alive. After approximately 14 days, I was removed from the incubator and went home. Unbeknown to the doctors at the time, the high intensity of oxygen in the incubator caused permanent uncorrectable damage to both of my eyes and especially to the retinas. My right eye retina is permanently scared, preventing any use whatsoever. I am essentially blind in that eye. While my left eye, as my seeing eye, functions by turning out to the left to focus on the good ¾ part of the retina. I know firsthand the difficulties, challenges, and hardships caused by restricted vision. This includes but is not limited to, driving at night, learning to read, and attempts to have a normal childhood by playing baseball or football. Not to mention bullying by students and even disrespectful comments by adults. So today I am eternally grateful for the many coaches, individuals, teachers, professors, businessmen and women, and civic leaders who believed in me and assisted me by providing opportunities to better myself educationally and through taking the risk to employ me.
MASSACHUSETTS ASSOCIATION FOR THE BLIND & VISUALLY IMPAIRED
I applied to the Massachusetts Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired, the oldest organization in the country, founded in 1906 dedicated to assisting blind and visually impaired children and adults, as a charity runner. On October 16th they selected me from among many qualified applicants. Since I’ve lived with impaired vision since birth I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the same non-profit organization in which Helen Keller was a board member and that so closely identifies with my eye condition. Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired delivers professional, peer, and volunteer support to over 1,400 individuals each year, giving them the support they need to live with dignity and independence. All the funds I raise support MABVI’s statewide network of vision rehabilitation services, which include low vision services, low vision peer support groups, and 300+ volunteers matched 1:1 with individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Your gift is tax-deductible. You may make your donation to MABVI in one of two ways: Either online at: crowdrise.com/richarddeyo Or by check. Please make your check payable to: MABVI, Attn: Andrea Crock, 200 Ivy Street, Brookline, MA 02446 With either donation method you will receive a receipt for tax purposes
My personal running goal is to finish the race in less than 5 hours. This is an average pace of 11:25 per mile. My best time since my college days is 4:05 at the Chicago marathon at the age of 45. My Fundraising Goal is to raise $25,000.00 for Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired which coincides with the 25th Anniversary of the Organization’s Boston Marathon Charity Runners Program Team with a Vision. Since 1994, Team with a Vision has run the Boston Marathon to support the programs and services of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired If you feel lead, please support me with your most generous contribution knowing that each gift will make a significant difference in the daily functionality of many people living with blindness or impaired vision. Because of the generous commitment of my industry product sponsors, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar up to $12,500.00. If you feel lead, I would appreciate your encouragement and donation. Your gift is tax-deductible.