NEWS

Blind Toronto cancer survivor to run Boston Marathon

04/12/2013 08:47 EDT | Updated 06/12/2013 05:12 EDT
The personal journey of a Toronto woman is making headlines as she heads off to run her first Boston Marathon on Monday.

Maya Jones, now 50, was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of 24 and is now completely blind.

“The last few years of my workable vision, I noticed that every morning when I woke up I saw less and less,” said Jones, “And that was a bit hard.”

Jones decided to overcome her issues and started training for the marathon four years ago.

"I was a little chubby. I was middle aged and so I just decided that I should, you know, become fitter and turn back the clock," she said.

But, the aspiring marathoner had more bad luck after being diagnosed in 2010 with breast cancer, which resulted in a lumpectomy.

"Everything was terrific and I got to keep all my body parts," said Jones.

Jones is now cancer-free and has been training with her coaches and guides for the upcoming marathon.

"Really it all comes down to communication and trust. It's a matter of making sure that her safety is paramount," said Omar Hafez, one of Jones' coaches and guides.

"A lot of other runners don't realize that Maya's blind and might bump into her."

Jones runs with a short nylon tether held by Hafez. She can feel the movement of her guide and follows.

"She’s aiming to run under four hours and based on her training, she can probably do that," said Alistair Munro, Jones' other coach and trainer.

The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and it ranks as one of the world's most prestigious road racing events.

MORE:cbcNews