(PITTSBURGH) – One of the thousands of runners who finished the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday did so without ever seeing the course.
Mike Bruno, 44, ran the 26.2 mile race while blindfolded to raise money for vision research. Bruno’s 7-year-old daughter, Cassie, has been blind since she was born prematurely at 25 weeks.
Cassie weighed only 1 pound 14 ounces when she was born, and had to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit for 114 days before her parents were able to bring her home, her father said.
“In the micro-preemies, the eyes are the last thing to develop and her retinas detached,” Bruno explained, “and that’s what happened in her case.”
He decided to run the marathon to raise money and awareness for what his daughter deals with on a daily basis.
Bruno, the Women’s Volleyball coach at Point Park University asked his friend, Point Park cross country coach Jim Irwin, to be his trainer and sighted-guide
Bruno says everyone has been very supportive of his effort.
“The outpouring of support, the kindness, the generosity, has exceeded anything I could have ever imagined,” he said.
After crossing the finish line, Bruno was emotional.
“Really really touched my heart, I think at the age of 44, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to top this one,” Bruno said. “And you know, if you’re going to write your legacy I think that helping others is a great way to do it.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Sandee LaMotte, CNN Newswire
Ariane de Vogue and Dan Berman, CNN