At this time of year, most people exercising along the Lachine Canal take in the trees’ changing colours.
Dr. Hady Saheb does not.
The McGill University Health Centre glaucoma specialist and ophthalmologist is running wearing a blindfold.
“It really has been transformative to take on this challenge and try to feel more connected to what people with vision loss and people worrying about vision loss live with every day,” said Dr. Saheb.
Over the last month he’s run 45 kilometres, guided by a sighted running partner.
Friday is his last 5k stretch.
“You have to have complete trust in the person beside you to guide you, to look out for your safety. And to make sure that you stay on your two legs throughout the run,” he told Global News.
Dr. Saheb says the experience highlights how important the sense of sight is. Something his patient Jacintha Findley knows well, after experiencing eye problems for 25 years.
“Just having to take care of a four-year-old and protect her, while at the same time, knowing that I can’t see from my left eye. So it’s a real fear and anxiety that I live with every day,” said the 41-year-old mother.
The specialist says he embarked on the challenge, inspired by the bravery and resilience of patients like Findley.
“He’s one of the few doctors that I know that are genuinely very caring and empathetic. So him doing this just, you know, I guess shows the world what I know already: that he cares,” said Findley.
“I certainly hope and expect it to allow me to be more empathetic and more connected to those living and worried about vision loss,” said Dr. Saheb.
He’s raised over $29,000, so far, with the goal of $50,000 to fund glaucoma innovations and technology to provide better care for patients living with vision loss while raising awareness.
“I really tell everyone out there to get your eyes checked out, because you don’t want to have to be half blind or blind,” said Findley.
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