Norma Bastidas Calgary Mom on a Mission
In January 2009, Norma became the second person in history to run seven of the planet's most unforgiving environments on seven separate continents in one year. Her journey, known as the 777 Run for Sight, took her through the thick jungles of Brazil and the driest deserts in the world. She leveraged her incredible journey to help raise money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness and to raise awareness of her son and his battle with vision loss.
Norma not only made history through her journey, she presented the Foundation Fighting Blindness with a cheque for $45,360. This money will be leveraged to further the Foundation’s mission to restore vision to approximately one million Canadians affected by blindness.
Norma’s oldest son Karl, was diagnosed at the age of 11 with cone rod dystrophy, a progressive eye condition with no cure. Norma found Karl’s diagnosis to be an emotionally draining experience. To relieve the stress, Norma began to run – and never stopped.
Today Norma has run seven of the hardest ultramarathons on earth as an ambassador for her son and the millions of people around the world living with visual impairments.
Norma sees the ultra-marathon experience as a metaphor for the incredible trials faced every day by the visually impaired. “Ultras are tough physically and emotionally,” admits Norma, “but the challenge is only temporary. After I finish an ultra, my life goes back to normal. But people with visual impairments have to keep overcoming huge challenges every day of their lives.”
She also believes her work will show both her children that we can all have a positive impact on other people’s lives and change the world.
Norma is thankful for all her sponsors and supporters’ generosity, including Calgary entrepeneur and Dragons Den star, Brett Wilson who hosted a backyard garden party to bring attention to the fundraiser and the cause.
The next challenge for Norma is the 771 Climb for Sight, 7 summits, 7 continents, 1 record. She will climb the 7 highest peaks on 7 continents, including Everest, in one year - making her the fastest female to ascend all 7 as well as run a marathon just before each climb.
The Foundation wants to thank Norma for creating the 777 Run for Sight and choosing the Foundation Fighting Blindness to be one of the beneficiaries. We are deeply grateful that true visionaries, like Norma, have helped further our Vision - to restore the gift of sight to those living with blindness. The FFB will direct the funds to the most promising vision research at prominent hospitals and universities, intent on finding treatments and cures for all forms of degenerative blindness.