Guest blogger Joe Pelletier is a runner and freelance writer who has glaucoma.
"On April 4, I will be competing at an international 10km race in New Orleans, Louisiana. At the same time, I am trying to outrun glaucoma.
My goal in New Orleans is to be the fastest Canadian at the race. No, I’m not an elite athlete. I’m a 40-year-old runner from British Columbia’s isolated far north. In one 36 hour period, this winter we had 5.5 feet of snow fall, making training hard to do! Now a knee injury has derailed my original time goals. Yet based on the race’s results in the last 3 years, being the fastest Canadian really was a realistic goal.
Far more importantly, I am using the race as a chance to do some good. I am raising money for CNIB.
Last year I raised $1,600 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. This year I picked CNIB because I have a much more personal relationship with the charity. I am a glaucoma patient. So is my father.
As of this writing, I’ve been able to raise about $400 - a wonderful sum and many thank you’s are owed. But fundraising has not been as easy this year as last. Raising money for Parkinson’s research was relatively easy. Perhaps it’s the celebrity factor, as people have watched Michael J. Fox and Muhammed Ali succumb to the disease, forever keeping the scary nature of Parkinson’s present.
Fundraising for CNIB has been tough, and I think that really speaks to just how much we take our eye health for granted. We don't think much about the eye conditions that CNIB helps including macular degeneration and glaucoma.
Since 1918, CNIB has helped thousands of Canadians each year who are far too aware how scary these diseases are, let alone blindness. I hope you never have to experience it first hand, but you will know someone who will.
As I continue preparations for my international 10km race, you can find out more about my journey on my fundraising page. Will I be the fastest Canadian? Maybe. Maybe not. But with your support maybe I - and others like me - can outrun glaucoma."