Graduate spotlight: Allison and Kennedy

In honor of National Blind Sports Day, meet Guiding Eyes graduate Allison Camire.Graduate Allison Camire and guide dog Kennedy run together during a group run with the local road runner organization“Outdoor activities give me the opportunity to do a sport in my own way. No one is going to bench me if I’m climbing a trail differently than someone else. I’m still hitting the same target, just differently.”Allison has never let her visual impairment keep her from her love of the outdoors. She was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa at 14, but it wasn’t until her early twenties that it had started to significantly affect her vision. It was then, while Allison was studying at college in Maine, that she was introduced to the great outdoors.

“When I first started to lose my vision, I didn’t want to accept it; I tried to hide it,” Allison says. “So while I was studying in Maine, I turned to the outdoors and I used it as an outlet. I started with snowboarding and skiing and expanded from there. I wanted to prove to myself I could still do all of the things I wanted to do.”

Years later, Allison is doing just that – all of the outdoor activities she loves to do. From paddle boarding and surfing to running and hiking, Allison, her Guiding Eyes guide dog, Kennedy, her husband, Russell, and pet dog, Dublin, love to stay active on the weekends. As for her next plan, Allison hopes to start training with Kennedy so that she can run a marathon in the near future.

This Saturday, October 6 is the inaugural National Blind Sports Day, founded by the United States Association of Blind Athletes. People from across the United States will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of blind sports and fitness activities hosted by various organizations and communities. The day will not only provide many blind and visually impaired Americans the opportunity to find an activity they love, but also showcase to society that sport and recreation is for everyone. Find an event happening in your area and if you’re participating, be sure to post about it on social media using #BlindSportsDay.