Woman With Usher Syndrome Takes 3rd In Sunday’s “Running Blind” 5K

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On Sunday (June 6), a woman who suffers from Usher syndrome came in third place in BTB Advertiser Archery Bistro’s 5K “Running Blind,” which raised money for the very same disease.

Amelia Westerfield finished the 5k with a time of 24:52, and her successful run was especially celebrated since she suffers from Usher syndrome, the leading cause of deaf-blindness. Amelia’s participation raised much-needed sponsorship money not only for the event but also for the upcoming 2nd Annual Usher syndrome family conference being held at Seattle Children’s Hospital on July 10th. The conference is being sponsored by Hear See Hope, Seattle Children’s Hospital and The Decibels Foundation. At the conference Amelia will be participating in a panel discussion and facilitating a breakout session on being a young adult with Ushers.

This was Archery Bistro’s first 5K Run, intended to benefit the Hear See Hope Foundation for Usher syndrome.

Race winners include the first place male finisher Tyler Freeberg with a time of 19:33. Second place male was Ben Christian with at time of 21:30 and third place was David Knox with a time of 21:49. The top female finishers were Cindy Sagmoen in first place with a time of 21:54 and Michelle Secrist in second place with a time of 23:35.

Rain didn’t hamper the turnout for the first-time event – over 225 people attended with 98 actually participating in the 5K run. Archery Bistro’s staff and customers came out to support the McKittrick family by volunteering and participating. Todd and Lane McKittrick, part owners of Archery Bistro have two sons, Conner and Dalton, who also suffer from Usher syndrome. The McKittick family founded the Hear See Hope Foundation in 2004 to fundraise and bring more awareness to Ushers.

“We truly appreciate the support of the community and our sponsors for making this run possible,” said Todd.

Despite suffering from Usher syndrome, Amelia Westerfield managed to finish third in the "Running Blind" 5K.

The fun-filled day wasn’t just for runners but for all who attended. A root beer garden was available for kids and a beer garden for adults. A maze was set up for children to maneuver through blindfolded and with ear plugs so they could experience what it would be like to have Usher syndrome. Archery Bistro Chef Brandon La Vielle skillfully worked the barbecue, flipping and serving burgers to hungry race participants and their families. The Burien/Normandy Park Fire Department offered fire hats and fire safety lessons to children.

“The community came out and supported us and we appreciate all the time and effort the volunteers and participants put into making this, our first run, such a great success,” added Todd.

One of the race highlights was the 1K “Blind” walk where over 40 participants wore blindfolds to experience walking blind. “You really had to rely on your partner for guidance,” said one participant. “It was a bit scary.”

For more information on the Hear See Hope Foundation, visit www.hearseehope.com.

Here are the top 15 finishers, grouped into male and female runners:

1. Tyler Freeberg 19:33
2. Ben Christian 21:30
3. David Knox 21:49
4. John Nelson 22:23
5. Kris Sagmoen 22:47
6. Grant Meyer 22:59
7. Brett Wittner 23:29
8. Tim Daly 23:57
9. Bob Neff 24:14
10. Ray Krueger 24:18
11. Nicholas Young 24:19
12. Cole McKittrick 24:51
13. Kostia Birulin 24:52
14. Greg Nelson 25:39
15. William Codd 25:56

1. Cindy Sagmoen 21:54
2. Michelle Secrist 23:35
3. Amelia Westerfield 24:52
4. Karen Love 25:27
5. Hillary Ritenburg 25:40
6. Sharon Daly 26:09
7. Taylor Stordahl 26:39
8. Josefin Kannin 27:42
9. Kaiti Freeberg 27:48
10. Jeannie Bodle 27:53
11. Robin Hoefer27:56
12. Tiffany Nessmer 28:46
13. Nancy Love 29:20
14. Christine Daly 29:20
15. Crysta Sugamura 29:45

Photos courtesy Dustin Keeth.

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