Dad goes distance for blind daughter
Boston Herald.com, April 16, 2011
by Renee Nadeau Algarin
A Wakefield dad with fresh memories of last year’s “brutal” marathon is coming back for more this year to give back to the Perkins School for the Blind.
James Vincent, 39, of Wakefield hopes to raise more than $5,000 for the Perkins School, which has helped his 3-year-old daughter Mia.
Mia suffers from a rare condition called atypical Rett syndrome. The tot is legally blind, unable to speak or walk on her own. Other programs for children with her condition would not accept her until age 3, but the Perkins School has served Mia for the past two years.
“We would have had to wait,” Vincent said. “It would have been three years of her just sitting around, not getting any help, not getting any better.”
A Perkins staffer comes to the family’s home once a week to work on “switches,” coaxing Mia to flick switches to set off sounds, lights and even a fan in order to get her to focus her attention in that direction, and the workers also try to help her walk in braces.
“It’s a happy place for her,” the proud dad said.
But the marathon isn’t exactly a happy place for Vincent. He ran last year for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and still has fresh memories of the agony.
“I couldn’t walk for three days after. I lost toenails. It was just brutal,” he said.
In spite of the pain, he still committed himself to raise $5,000, and has about only $600 left to raise to reach his goal.
“It’s for a good cause, something that hits close to home, and you can’t say no,” he said.
For more information or to donate, visit perkins.org.