Inspiration, First Event, and Moving Forward - Daniel, Race Director
In November 2008 I was listening to The Story with Dick Gordon on public radio station WUNC. I had an appointment and I was about to turn off the radio when I heard that Dick Gordon was interviewing the only officer with vision impairment in the Army Special Forces. I wound up being late for my appointment because my ears were glued to the radio listening to Captain Ivan Castro, Army Special Forces. (http://thestory.org/archive/the_story_637_A_Story_Of_Service_And_Leadership.mp3)
In September 2006 Captain Castro was serving in Iraq when he was seriously wounded in combat, and among his numerous injuries he lost his eyesight. Working through painful and extensive physical and vision rehabilitation therapies Captain Castro became the only blind officer serving in the Army Special Forces. I was awestruck by Captain Castro's experiences, and intently listened as he described running marathons with a guide. I began thinking..."I teach people with visual impairments. Wouldn't it be cool to have a public race and people with visual impairments so they could compete with their sighted peers?"
It took some time to formalize my idea, and once I did I found a great group of people that shared my vision and wanted to support it; Raising Cane was born. In the months leading up to the race certified vision professionals trained volunteers from the running community to be guide runners/walkers for people with visual impairments. On March 26, 2011 Raising Cane kicked off its first race! With the help of thirty volunteers approximately 160 runners and walkers participated in Raising Cane's first event. Raleigh native and Paralympic silver medalist Lex Gillette ran his first 5K race with Raising Cane. People traveled from as far away as Maryland, Pennsylvania, and California to participate. Raising Cane was off and running!
Since March 2011 Raising Cane has become a non-profit organization. Raising Cane is focused on empowering all individuals, including persons with visual impairments, to get moving and increase participation in sport promoting a healthy lifestyle. I'm especially pleased to announce that Raising Cane will be funding and operating Camp Abilities NC, a weeklong sports camp for children and teens with visual impairments.
Raising Cane is seeing beyond the finish line...our vision is to advance recreational opportunities for people with visual impairments.