By Marla Runyan

Thousands watched in awe as Marla Runyan ran the 1500 meter occasion in Sydney. yet few recognize the true tale of the girl who used to be clinically determined with Stargardt's sickness at 9 years old-and grew to become forced to accomplish what was once proposal past her succeed in, in athletics in addition to lifestyles.

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I thought it was gross. I wanted Skippy. We couldn’t even have regular applesauce. ” It lasted for weeks and weeks. Finally, it was my father who broke. One evening he came home from work with a six-pack of Pepsi and a gallon of ice cream under his arm. He didn’t even like 32 The Big E ice cream or soda very much, but he was tired of watching Grady and me suffer. My mother continued to make appointments with various doctors, who hazarded all kinds of theories. But no one could give us a concrete answer as to what was wrong with me.

And I wasn’t alone anymore. There were other kids who couldn’t see. I didn’t realize until that moment how isolated I had been by my vision loss. In fact, I 50 Surrounded by Music had been desolate. My only company was my mother—not exactly an ideal environment in which to mature socially. The first thing I saw when we entered the room was that it was designed entirely for people like me. Each desk had a stand with a light and a magnifier. In the back of the room was a bank of CCTVs, at least five of them.

But worse, everything began to seem hard. I was barely getting by. I could read my books—if I virtually pressed them to my face. My teacher still tried to accommodate me, but she had no way of understanding my very real limitations. For instance, she constantly used an overhead projector instead of the chalkboard—and it happened to be the worst thing for my condition. That blank 29 Marla Runyan white field with faint writing across it drove me crazy. She couldn’t know that the peculiar nature of my vision loss was that things very bright and very white were hardest for me to perceive.

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