Pushing The Boundaries – Visually Impaired People defying expectations

Photo of Royal Parks Half Marathon runners

I’ve been a member of Berkshire Vision since I was registered partially sighted aged 10. I am now 28.

During that time, I have enjoyed attending many different events including theatre trips, chocolate factories, seaside trips, ten pin bowling, art and crafts.

When sports were introduced I tried most of them including golf, tennis, dragon boating, athletics, cricket, swimming, wall climbing, tandem cycling, ice skating, skiing, archery and sailing.

Since being part of Berkshire Vision I have made many new friends of all ages. This has given me the confidence to give everything a try and to attempt many challenges.

I have also traveled to Sicily where I did scuba diving, wind surfing and to North Wales where I tried rock climbing, abseiling, gorge walking and white-water rafting.

Following taster sessions, I have pursued a few activities on my own. I now kayak regularly with a partner and have completed the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race (125 miles with 77 portages) twice. I play for both the Berkshire Stags V.I. cricket team and the UK women’s cricket team. Along with two other Berkshire Vision members I will be travelling to Barbados this summer to play against the West Indies team.

With other members of Berkshire Vision I compete each year at the Metro Games, winning many medals for athletics and I am very proud to be attempting my first half marathon in October at the Royal London Parks event, raising money for Berkshire Vision. Competing at the London Hong Kong Dragon boat festival was amazing. It was so loud and colourful and it was exciting to be part of a team.

Having joined Berkshire Vision as a child I now get great pleasure from helping out at some of the children’s events. I dress up as an elf at the Christmas party and help Santa give presents to the children, I helped out at the animal encounter which was great fun for everyone and I hope I show other people with visual impairment that it doesn’t stop you from joining in, having a lot of fun, making friends and achieving goals.

Last year I was invited to be part of the “This Girl Can” campaign to encourage young women to get involved in sport – if this V.I. girl can, anyone can; they just need to be encouraged to have a go!

Ruth Stacey

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