SOMERSET, Mass. (WPRI) — The Boston Marathon is less than two months away as thousands of racers are hard at work training for the 26.2 mile event.
One of those runners is a local woman, who was recently diagnosed with a serious vision condition and is hoping her marathon efforts can help other people like her.
Somerset native Chrissy Fitzgerald has never run a marathon before. She’s hoping her team at Mass. Eye and Ear can help her cross the finish line, just like they helped her through a recent medical scare.
She has always been an outgoing, active person. However, shortly after her 26th birthday, things started to change.
“I started having symptoms of light headedness, an unbalanced feeling. I was having neck pain, headaches. It would just provoke severe anxiety,” says Fitzgerald. “It was debilitating to a point where I just didn’t want to go and do anything because I was so nervous that something would happen when I was out and I had no idea what it was.”
After seeing countless doctors and undergoing dozens of tests, she finally came across the Neuro-Ophthalmology Center and Mass Eye and Ear. They told her she was born with horizontal and vertical misalignment of the eyes. It’s a condition that can get worse as a person gets older.
“I remember that day too I was like crying in the office like I can’t believe that’s really what it is, and the solution is a pair of glasses,” adds Fitzgerald.
The glasses were custom made for her, with special prism lenses for each eye. She wears them everywhere, except when she’s running.
“The running actually relieved my anxiety,” says Fitzgerald.
As a patient, Fitzgerald was invited to apply to the Mass. Eye and Ear Boston Marathon team.
“I thought oh my god this is perfect I can kind of give back my appreciation to the organization in a way that would be something I’m interested in, and I can raise money to help people who are just like me.”
She’s been raising money for months and is more than halfway to reaching her $10,000 goal.
“Still got quite a bit to go so hopefully I can not just meet but exceed my goal because that would be amazing.”
To learn more about how to support Fitzgerald and Team Mass. Eye and Ear, you can click here.