Aug 29 2016
That morning, I was nervous. As I pulled up to the quiet neighborhood, I muttered under my breath "Don't screw up."
I got out of my car and stood quietly at the bottom of the front steps. He walked down the stairs confidently.
"Good Morning, Peter! I'm Gyee. Very nice to meet you!" I said, my voice 2 pitches too high and quickly realized my cheerful 0630 self might be a little too much.
I tried to keep my cool while in my head, I went through all the things that I had learnt from training so I don't say or do the wrong things that would harm Peter. However, I had learnt much later that it was OK to feel the anxiety and to feel completely out of my comfort zone, because the payoff was worth it.
Hey friends and family: Meet Peter, my visually-impaired(VI) friend and fellow runner. We meet on Friday mornings to run/jog at the Arnold Arboretum for the past 2.5 years. Peter has macular degeneration which causes sight loss and eventually impedes his ability to run and enjoy the outdoors on his own.
I met Peter through Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI), an organization based out of Brookline, MA that helps people with low vision maximize their remaining sight and learn to use adaptive strategies for completing daily tasks.
MABVI's mission is to work with individuals with vision loss to eliminate barriers and create opportunities.
As a running guide volunteer for Peter, I've learnt incredible amount of life lessons. Our friendship has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.
Peter is my pal who keeps me accountable to show up on Friday mornings even though all I want is just another 15 minutes of sleep.
He listens patiently and without judgment. He shows me great kindness, respect and empathy. Through Peter, I learnt gratitude and to be thankful.
To give back, to pay it forward, and to increase awareness of organizations serving the blind and VI, I have decided to take part in the Blindfold Challenge - an annual 5K running event held during the Boston Athletic Association 5K on the historic Marathon course.
In the Blindfold Challenge, participants run in teams of two, one wearing a blindfold and the other guiding.
Now, can y'all guess who will be joining me in this challenge? Bob! Of course, it's Bob! :-) Bob has decided to be my guide (he'll learn cueing and guiding) while I'll be blindfolded and get the experience of being in Peter's shoes for 30 mins.
Our goal is to raise $1500. We hope you'll join us to support these commendable organizations in their quests for essential rehabilitation, education and technology services for the blind.
I thank you for your support (and time to read this!) - it truly means A LOT.
Ways you can help:
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Thank you from the very bottom of my heart,