Team With A Vision is not just a charity team. We are a running program of athletes who are blind or visually impaired, their guides, and those running with the invitational waivers. Our team comes from the Boston area, and stretches across North America and Europe. For the past several years we’ve averaged 20 athletes who are blind and visually impaired, sighted guides, other Boston Qualifying Athletes, and those running with invitational waivers.
Who makes up Team With A Vision? Runners like Sarah Scalia, who just ran her first Boston Marathon last year. Though the upcoming Boston Marathon means a new year of training, the inspiration fueling Scalia has remained the same.
Last year, the now 23-year-old Scalia, a Harvard graduate, met Diane Berberian, a visually impaired Ironman and marathoner, through the Team with a Vision. The two ran together, and Scalia still turns to her favorite quote from Berberian, “Embrace the journey” for daily inspiration. Despite an injury at the peak of her training last year, Scalia was still able to finish the Boston Marathon. Now, she looks to embrace the next part of her journey as she has committed to running with the Team with a Vision in the Boston Marathon this April.
Team With a Vision is also made up of people like Aaron Hale.
A 14-year veteran of both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy, Aaron was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team Leader in both Iraq and Afghanistan. On his second mission in Afghanistan in 2011, his bomb squad was disarming an Improvised Explosive Device when another one detonated. In an instant, Aaron was blinded.
Aaron “got off the couch” in a big way. He took on new adventures like kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, and running, and they became talents.
“I don’t have my eyesight…so a lot of the experience is taken from me. I still get to feel the air, I can feel the crispness when I inhale and exhale. Then there’s the sense of accomplishment – getting out and doing something that may be the hardest thing, physically, you’ve ever done.”
Originally a cook in the Navy, Aaron and his fiancée McKayla also started a fudge business called EOD Extra Ordinary Delights.
While Aaron’s determination is remarkable and his grit unquestionable, he won’t take any credit. “I didn’t overcome anything,” he says. “All the strength lies in my amazing fiancée and family. My family, friends, and the support of some incredible veterans’ organizations that got me through my obstacles.”
Unfortunately, obstacles continued.
In August 2015, Aaron lost his hearing due to a sudden case of bacterial meningitis. The illness caused Aaron to go deaf. To help him communicate, cochlear implants now aid his hearing.
Aaron, however, keeps going. He speaks across the country, raising awareness for veterans’ organizations and wounded veterans, and keeps the fudge business cranking. He’s also training for the Boston Marathon in April, when he’ll run with Team With a Vision, the official charity team for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
For the last 24 years members of Team With A Vision have toed the starting line on Marathon Monday and shown the world that with the right support anything is possible.
Our international team of blind and sighted runners race to support individuals throughout Massachusetts living with vision loss. Their efforts allow the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired to deliver professional, peer and volunteer support to over 1,100 individuals each year, giving them the support they need to live with dignity and independence.
All funds raised support MABVI’s statewide network of vision rehabilitation services, which include 14 low vision clinics, 34 low vision support groups, and 300 volunteers matched 1:1 with blind individuals.
We are honored to be a part of the 2017 Boston Athletic Association Boston Marathon Official Charity Program!
Support Team With a Vision here: https://www.crowdrise.com/teamwithavisionboston2017/fundraiser/mabcommunityservices