Try running with your eyes closed. Scary, right? Now try doing it with others around you. Even scarier. Despite that, Sami Stoner has found a way to keep on running and competing.
A young runner who due to a degenerative eye disease (untreatable Stargardt disease) is now legally blind, Sami was faced with not being able to do something she loved, that is run. And maybe even more, being part of a team and enjoying all that comes with that experience. Suffering from an injury or more permanent disability restricts us from participation but it also robs from us the social interaction that makes us happy, feel engaged and worthy, and just alive. That is, unless we do something about it.
But Sami’s situation seemed difficult. Run cross country when blind? How does one deal with that? Surely help is needed. And thankfully help came in the form of supportive family, friends, and teammates, understanding administrators, and a new “teammate”, guide dog Chloe, who is with Sami during the day at school, and now accompanies her out on the running course. It is a special relationship in which both parties benefit. While Sami’s is clear, seems Chloe is having some fun as well. “I
don’t run for time or place or anything, I just run because I love it, and I’m glad I can share my love of running with Chloe now,” says Sami…
“Opportunity doesn’t find you,” is the type of saying put forth by self-help gurus, pundits, consultants, or folks with an enlightened view of life when they want to encourage people to take action. “You must find opportunity” or “make your own luck”, etc., etc. Sami Stoner, a young woman in Ohio, is finding her opportunity, despite being blind.
“I just hope people learn that just because you have a disability or some kind of disadvantage that it’s not the end of the world,” says Sami, who has a 4.0 grade point average this year. “You can still do stuff, you just have to find a way of doing it.” Well said.
To read the full story on Sami, please click here to see Lisa A. Flam’s piece, “Blind teen keeps on running, thanks to guide dog,” from Today.com.
(photo: Sami Stoner)