Patient: Maureen Gillespie
Sight Restored: 2013
We have shared the story of Maureen Gillespie and her commitment to run the 2014 Boston Marathon, in part to raise funds and awareness for BFS and BostonSight® PROSE treatment. Marathon Monday was a glorious day in Boston and an incredible experience for Maureen.
Due to lack of health insurance, Maureen suffered with deteriorating vision caused by keratoconus for 11 years. It negatively affected every facet of her life, keeping her home after dark, unable to use her eyes for more than 3-4 hours per day.
Maureen learned of PROSE treatment from a co-worker when she joined the University of New Hampshire as a professor of psychology. She was thrilled that her health insurance would cover the entire cost of the treatment.
After the tragedy of the 2013 Boston Marathon, Maureen decided to run in 2014 and chose BFS as the charity for which she would fundraise. “I felt so lucky to have a job that provided health insurance that covered the whole treatment process. So many people aren’t in that position and I wanted to help others get the same relief as I did,” she said.
We are thrilled to announce that Maureen raised more than $5,000 for BFS and are pleased to share some of her thoughts from that day:
The Boston Marathon was amazing. Along the way, I saw two amputees running with guides and three blind participants and their guides. Seeing these participants overcome the toughest odds to complete this race was so inspiring.
Heartbreak Hill wasn't that bad, but afterwards, I was shot. Running the last 5 miles was probably the hardest thing I've ever done.
Seeing the sign for 1km was emotional. I knew the last turns: Right on Hereford, left on Boylston. I was able to run the last kilometer on pure adrenaline and cheers from the crowd. Stopping hurt more than continuing to run, but it was such a relief to pass the finish line.
I thought I'd cry at the end, but I didn't. I choked up more along the way. Seeing the guided runners, hearing a spectator saying that they were proud of YOU because you were taking back the finish line, being in my old neighborhoods and remembering being a little country kid in the big city - that's what got to me. To me, running a marathon was much more mental than it was physical. It hurt, no doubt - I started really hurting around mile 18, but was just a matter of powering through.
Yesterday is going to go down as one of the happiest days of my life. Boston Strong!
One thing that didn’t hurt after the race were Maureen’s eyes: “I had a great experience using my PROSE devices. My eyes didn't bother me at all the whole way. I never could have imagined that when I was using piggy backing and RGPs!”
All of us at BFS are grateful to Maureen and all of the wonderful people who supported her journey to successfully complete the Marathon and her fundraising goal.