MABVI Celebrates 25 Years of Inspiration and Advocacy with Memorial Award

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The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) will be celebrating its 25th year fielding Team With A Vision in the Boston Marathon, in A Night of Champions.

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Team with A Vision will be announcing a new award, The Kara MacDonald Aspire Award, created to celebrate the life and work of the late Kara MacDonald, and her dedication to athletes with disabilities.

The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) will be celebrating its 25th year fielding Team With A Vision (TWAV) in the Boston Marathon, in A Night of Champions. The Team’s runners—both visually impaired and sighted—participate to raise funds and awareness, and inspire others with disabilities. The team is a member of the Boston Athletic Association Boston Marathon Official Charity Program.

On April 14, 2018, at the Westin Copley, the efforts of athletes, guides, and the community will be celebrated and honored. The evening will include honors for Richard Hunter, Caroline Gaynor, and John Hancock Insurance. Richard is a nationally respected ultra-runner, Ironman triathlete, marathoner, and advocate for visually impaired athletes. His efforts have brought the USA Blind Athletes National Championship to the California International Marathon. He helped launch United In Stride, an online tool that unites visually impaired runners with sighted guides. Caroline Gaynor is an eight-time Ironman guide for blind and visually impaired athletes. Team with A Vision is also honoring the long partnership with John Hancock and their nonprofit partners. Since its beginning, the John Hancock nonprofit partners have raised more than $297 million dollars for community-based organizations.

Team with A Vision will be announcing a new award, The Kara MacDonald Aspire Award, created to celebrate the life and work of the late Kara MacDonald, and her dedication to athletes with disabilities.

“Kara had a deep passion and drive to support others, particularly through her work at the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) in the Athletes With Disabilities division,” said Barbara Salisbury, CEO of Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. MacDonald passed away in the summer of 2017 after a year-and-a-half-long battle with lung cancer.

Kara MacDonald

Kara MacDonald began working for the Boston Athletic Association in the mid 1990s, and was an integral member of the registration team helping the B.A.A. establish the notion of Runner Services. She became an early thought leader for, and valuable contributor to, athletes with disabilities, establishing policies and procedures that are in use today. In a statement about her passing, the B.A.A. remembers Kara as a kind and thoughtful woman who always had time to listen to the full story and circumstances surrounding any situation.

Since the mid 1970s, the B.A.A. has been working with Athletes With Disabilities, first with a Wheelchair Division (push rim), then Handcycle, Mobility Impaired, Visually Impaired (VI), and Duo Teams. In order to allow athletes to compete in the race—as well as at an elite level—each program imposes its own requirements and needs. Kara MacDonald had a hand in shaping the VI division, stressing the importance of supporting athletes, and ensuring that the race was accessible.

“Kara represented the very best of what we do,” added Salisbury. “She worked tirelessly to support these athletes, and this annual award is a wonderful way to recognize those who follow in her footsteps.”

In addition to the Boston Marathon, MABVI has also fielded a group of teen and young adult VI runners, Junior Team With A Vision, to compete in the B.A.A. 5K race.

“With the proper tools and support, people who are visually impaired can do anything,” added Salisbury.

ABOUT MABVI AND TEAM WITH A VISION

Team With A Vision was created to raise funds and awareness for MABVI and to promote greater involvement of visually impaired runners in the Boston Marathon. MABVI works to show that disabilities, like other challenges, can be overcome in the world of sport, and by translation, in any setting. The team is a proud member of the Boston Athletic Association Boston Marathon Official Charity Program.

Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI) is the oldest social service organization in the country that serves adults and elders who are blind or visually impaired. They provide vision rehabilitation services and partner with community and medical groups to create high-impact, cost-effective services. TWAV is an international team of blind, visually impaired, and sighted runners committed to race and raise funds for the cause.

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Paul Twitchell
MABVI
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