Boston Marathon runner to still raise funds for charities

BOSTON — The cancellation of the Boston Marathon has charities bracing for a financial hit. But many runners have pledged to still raise money for their charities despite the race going virtual.

“It’s just an unfortunate but necessary decision I believe the BAA, the city and the state of Massachusetts had to make,” Chaz Davis said.

Chaz Davis is a para-athlete running the Boston Marathon as part of the charity team called “Team with a Vision.” They’re running for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. He and his teammates have worked for months training and raising money for the charity and are devastated by Thursday’s announcement.

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“Just seeing the emails that I was receiving from them, my heart really broke for them as well,” Davis said.

Davis is from Grafton. He had perfect vision his entire life until one morning when he was a freshman in college he couldn’t see out of one eye.

“I woke up and rubbed one of my eyes and when I was looking out of the other eye it was just all blurry. For me it was devastating and I didn’t know that it would lead to permanent blindness,” Davis said.

The star Division 1 track and cross country runner was diagnosed with Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy and gradually lost vision in both eyes.

“I started to fall into a deep dark depression where a lot of substance abuse, drugs and alcohol really came into play,” Davis said.

But Davis says getting back into running saved his life. He starting training with guide runners and even made his way two the 2016 Paralympics in Rio which is why he knows charities that support the blind and visually impaired are so important.

“We want to keep people engaged in the wonderful work that the charity members have already done so far,” Davis said.

Typically the marathon team raises $300,000 for MABVI. They’re only about $70,000 away from hitting that goal. Just because the marathon is canceled, the runner’s fundraising and training are not.

“We’re definitely going to keep raising funds through September and we want to know what we can do so we can potentially still do it in a virtual format,” Davis said.

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