Blind Teen Runs Cross Country With Help from Guide Dog
After losing her vision to the fast-developing hereditary condition Stargardt’s disease, 16-year-old cross-country athlete Sami Stoner wasn’t sure if she’d ever be able to run again. With the help of the one-and-a-half-year-old golden retriever guide dog named Chloe, however, the Lexington, OH teen declared herself ready to represent her high school.
It took the pair four weeks of intense training to get used to the uneven terrain, but the only problem that seemed to arise was from the Ohio High School Athletic Association. According to the sport’s code, guide dogs aren’t allowed.
Eventually, the association made an exception for Stoner, provided she start 20 seconds after the other participants, as to avoid Chloe getting tangled up in a large group of runners.
Given the opportunity, Stoner has, well, run with it, bettering her time in each of the three meets she and Chloe have participated in this year.
“When one door closes, another one opens,” Stoner explained. “Even if you have a disability or you don’t think you can do something, there’s almost always a way.”
[via ABC News]