Kelsey Varzeas has a special connection to people with disabilities – which is why she decided to run the Boston Marathon® on April 20.
Varzeas is one of five runners on the Perkins charity team who will pound the pavement from Hopkinton to Boston to raise over $25,000 for people who are blind or visually impaired. Varzeas plans to raise $1,500.
Varzeas decided to run for Perkins after she spent the summer of 2014 working at the nonprofit Cape Abilities Farm in Dennis, Massachusetts, which gives adults with disabilities an opportunity to learn vocational and daily living skills.
“In my experience working with individuals with disabilities, I have come to realize that one of the hardest things for them is finding a place where they feel welcomed and comfortable,” she said. “It can be a challenge when you are not like anyone else.
“This is why schools like Perkins are so important. It provides a place of learning, a place of belonging, but most importantly, a place where uniqueness and individuality is admired and respected.”
Currently a senior at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Varzeas hopes to become a sport psychologist for Special Olympians and Paralympians after she graduates. This will be Varzeas’ first marathon, although she ran the 7.3-mile Falmouth Road Race last year as a pusher for a young man with cerebral palsy.
By raising funds for Perkins, Varzeas hopes to make a lasting difference in the lives of people with disabilities.
“Although I am not directly involved with Perkins, I believe that I am indirectly connected,” she said. “Both Perkins and I have a passion for helping this special population of people.”
To support Varzeas’ Boston Marathon run and make a donation to Perkins, visit her secure fundraising page. All donations will fund Perkins’ on-campus, regional and international programs for children and adults who are blind, deafblind or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities.