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Blind runner discovers a friend and her own potential through the Crim

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 2:44 AM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - You may hear the word ‘Crim’ and simply think of a run in Flint, but it’s so much more than that. It’s also a place to find friends - and yourself.

ABC12′s Christina Burkhart shares with us a full circle story that happened all because of one race.

When heading out for a run, maybe you choose to jog near the road, through your neighborhood, or along a trail with beautiful views.

But what if THIS (black screen) was your view - this is what it’s like for Ashley, a young woman who’s blind. But she hasn’t let that stop her from pounding the pavement, finishing the crim, and reaching other goals along the way.

“Running gave me the confidence to face a lot of other obstacles in my life,” said Ashley Seymour.

When a friend asked Ashley to run a 5k for her 30th birthday, she said sure. Little did she know what it would lead to.

“I’ve met a lot of people and it’s really helped me in a lot of ways - socially, emotionally, physcially, it’s been great,” Seymour said.

Seymour holds on to a tether or a friend's arm to run. In joining a crim training group, she met Stephanie K. Confer.

“When I was walking with Ashley, I realized I said what a beautiful blue sky, and then realized I am so sorry, you’ve never seen blue,” said Confer. “I put myself in her place and I thought, well blue is the color of the feeling it gives me if I’m in water floating, or there’s something like serenity that makes you feel relaxed and calm, that’s what blue looks like to me, and she said, oh ok, I think I get that!”

The two walking buddies shared and learned from each other, becoming close.

“She was born as a twin, and her brother could see, he was successful, tall dark and handsome, and she was born having seizures and was totally blind,” said Confer. “And she shared with me that she was in a dark place and felt even suicidal, and I could understand that because I had a sister who committed suicide, so I really felt that connection to her and I wanted to help her the best I could. And since then - God had other plans for her.”

“She just has a real bubbly personality and she is real upbeat and stuff and so I really liked hanging out with her - I still do!” said Seymour.

Another goal of Seymour’s was to be independent. Confer, an employee at MTA - Mass Transportation Authority - went right to MTA CEO, Ed Benning.

“When I asked him about Ashley he said, let’s make a spot for her, we’re going to make a spot for her,” Confer said. “We had to invest in some applications so that the computer would talk to you so that she could take some surveys, and she’s doing a fantastic job! She’s helping people that are disabled themselves because she can relate to them.”

Seymour has now been able to move into her own apartment.

“I had no idea that all of these things would be possible,” said Seymour. “That I could run a crim, live on my own again, have a job - I just didn’t know. But things just started to work out and it’s been amazing, it’s been an amazing journey.”

A journey that’s inspired many others along the way. Her advice to someone thinking about doing the Crim?

“You never know what you’re capable of until you try,” said Seymour. “Find a good friend, someone to help you out. I didn’t think I could do it but I was amazed once I started running what I was able to do.”

And if you fall, try again!

“Oh I’ve fallen so many times!” said Seymour. “I fell last year and I scraped my knee so bad, and my hands, but it just is part of the journey. You know, you fall, you get back up, you keep trying. You have to keep trying you can’t give up. It’s a work in progress but try not to be scared and keep moving forward.”

“Good people come together, they find each other,” said Confer. “I know people out there watching right now, they want to do something to help other people - so join the Crim, meet those people, and get out there and find out what you can do for the community because it’ll make you feel better. She went from a dark spot to a shining star, full circle around, all of these blessings thanks to the Crim.”

Seymour hopes to become a therapist someday.

In the meantime, her favorite thing about her new job at MTA is the people - the ones she works with and the people she gets to speak with and help everyday.

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