Sami Stoner is the first legally blind cross country runner to compete with her guide dog Chloe. The pair trained hard together and when the 16-year-old wanted to join her high school cross country team, she had the support of her high school.
Sami suffers from a Stargardt disease, a rare form of macular degeneration and slowly began to lose her sight when she was 14. Her Golden Retriever, Chloe, is not only her eyes but also her running companion with Lexington (Ohio) High's cross country team.
Although Chloe learned how to safely guide Sami through three miles of uneven terrain, the duo faced the challenge of overcoming the Ohio High School Athletic Association's rules, which barred Sami from participating. The association eventually sanctioned Sami and Chloe and they have been racing together for over a year now. Chloe is now considered as another member of the team. "We had to make Chloe her own little jersey because she's a runner too," says Sami.
In addition to their running, Chloe provides Sami with amazing support ever day. She says, "I've never bonded with even a person like that. She knows she has to watch out for me. I can't imagine being without her now."
Sami and Chloe were recently featured on "Good Morning America" (see video below). Of her accomplishments, Sami says, "If you love something enough then you'll find a way to do it even if you do have struggles with it."
View more articles in: Community News