Hello from Juli and Lindsey and welcome to our fundraising page. Join us in our effort to support the Massachusettes Association for the Blind and Vision Impaired (MABVI). They provide important support services for the blind and visually impaired, such as - low vision evaluations, functional vision assessments and in-home training, support groups and counseling, volunteer services (e.g. reading mail, shopping, filling out forms), training on assistive technology (e.g. smart phone apps, viewers), and orientation and mobility training (e.g. using public transportation). Juli knows the value of these types of services since she has received similar assistance in her own state and would like to see other people, no matter where they live, to benefit from such useful services.
We will be running in the 2019 Boston Marathon as members of MABVI's charity organization, Team With A Vision. All donations to Team With A Vision members will go to MABVI and the important services they provide.
A little about us -
Juli was diagnosed with Stargardt's Macular Distrophy (SMD) at age 10. This is the juvenile form of macular degeneration. Originally from North Dakota, she now lives in Montana and has been a massage therapist for the past 15 years. Running has become an important part of her life because it helps to keep her mentally and physically fit. One of her proudest moments as a runner was receiving the Richard Hunter CIM To Boston Running In Excellence Award (Dec 2018). When not running, she enjoys riding horses, traveling, playing the piano, and hiking.
A number of years ago, Juli was looking for a good hiking buddy/guide and found Lindsey, who not a big fan of hiking alone, was more than happy to join her. They have since become good friends and have even gone on several travel adventures in the US and abroad. Lindsey's interest in running was passed on to Juli who was at the time looking for a new exercise routine. He also taught her how to swim, so now she swims laps and runs on a regular basis. With his further encouragement, Juli starting participating in running events and eventually the idea for running the Boston Marathon became a goal.
Lindsey is from Great Falls, MT. As a kid he was quite active in a variety of sports. To keep himself active as an adult, he tries to commute around town as much as possible on his clunky old mountain bike. He also decided to give running a try and has been a somewhat lumbering runner for the past 10 years or so. He has even managed to participate in a number of events (5Ks, 10Ks, Sprint Triathlons, and Half-Marathons). He has kept himself busy working as an electrical engineer, a tour guide, a camp counselor, a handyman, and substitute teacher/tutor. At the moment you could say that he is a musician, primarily teaching private lessons, but also doing some piano accompaniment work. He enjoys composing and would like to write a musical someday.
Besides Lindsey, Juli has had two other reliable training partners/guides (Ron and Jen), which she very much appreciates and is always looking for more. If any of you want to become a guide runner, please join the United In Stride network, which helps connect blind and visually impaired runners with guides all over the US. United In Stride is an excellent resource for blind and visually impaired runners, and it should be noted that the United In Stride network was created and is maintained by MABVI. Just another reason to support them with a donation!
A closing note from Juli and Lindsey -
We're doing our best to train over the winter months here in Montana....February was brutal with 21 snow days and an average temp around -0.2˚F. Not ideal for outdoor training runs, although shoveling all that snow might count as cross training. March and April hopefully should be better (fingers crossed). We are excited as time draws near for our trip out to Boston. We look forward to meeting the other members of Team With A Vision and participating in all the various events/activities during the race weekend, plus running the actual marathon itself of course. A marathon is 26.2 miles long, which is roughly 42 kilometers, and we'll both be 42 years old (if you were curious about our title). Help cheer us on and please donate to a great cause!
Not sure how much to donate? Here are some concrete dollar amounts to show what impact your generous donate will make:
*$30 supports 1 hour of Assistive Technology (AT) support with a trained and experienced AT Vibrant Volunteer.
*$40 pays for 1 Volunteers With Vision visit for an individual who is blind or visually impaired. MABVI volunteers provide support through reading mail, grocery shopping, and other everyday tasks.
*$48 buys 1 talking clock for an individual who is blind or visually impaired.
*$52 provides 1 white cane for a year so that an individual may scan their surroundings for obstacles or orientation marks, but is also helpful for other traffic participants in identifying the user as blind or visually impaired and taking appropriate care.
*$60 gives the gift of 1 magnifier for an individual who is blind or visually impaired.
*$150 covers 1 visit from MABVI trained and certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS) to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Together, specific strategies and skills are implemented for safe, efficient, and effective travel in both indoor and outdoor environments. Some of the skills that are taught include:
- Searching skills: locating items or places efficiently
- Sighted guide: using another person to aid in travel
- Protective techniques: specific skills which provide added protection in unfamiliar areas
- Use of public transportation
- Long cane skills: use of various cane techniques to clear one's path or to locate objects along the way
*$250 provides free medical transportation to appointments for an individual who is blind or visually impaired for one year.
*$500 supports MABVI Volunteers for Vision program for 1 year in recruiting and training volunteers.