Success Stories

Student beats odds to run marathon

Scott Lacey, shown here at a student panel discussion, will run the Boston

Grand Valley psychology major Scott Lacey is a dedicated blind athlete who plans to run in the 2014 Boston Marathon.   

Lacey started losing his vision more than three years ago and now is legally blind. He was born with hydrocephalus and a brain shunt was used to drain cerebral spinal fluid. The shunt failed and created pressure on his optic nerves leading to blindness.

“I was driving to work and everything went out,” Lacey said. “I had to quit my job.”

Lacey turned to running to help himself cope with losing his sight. A gifted athlete, he played soccer most of his life, including his first year of college at Notre Dame of Ohio.

After spending some time at the Michigan Commission for the Blind to learn how to live independently, Lacey started running on the treadmill to begin training for the marathon. He ran a half-marathon at the Hall of Fame City Challenge in Ohio last fall.

Lacey credited staff members at the Kelly Family Sports Center for his success. “They have worked with me. They gave me my own locker and let me keep my stuff  there,” Lacey said.

He runs with his guide, Lance, who he met through rehabilitation with the Michigan Commission for the Blind.

Lacey plans to continue his training to run the Boston Marathon in mid-April. A week later, he will participate in commencement ceremonies.

Following graduation, Lacey plans to apply to Western Michigan University to earn a master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation. With this degree, he can train people who are recently blind in doing everyday tasks from traveling for younger adults and basic movement for older adults.

Lacey, 30, also works as a consultant for the Statistical Consulting Center on the Allendale Campus.

by Jarrett Weber

This story was filed with the tags: Health, Science, Undergraduate Student