An Inverness man who permanently lost sight in his left eye at the age of 20 says he has battled back to a relatively normal life thanks to the help and support he has received from a Highland charity.
Marcus Bruce Konoso hopes to raise funds for Sight Action, which provides support and rehabilitation to blind and visually impaired adults and children, by taking part in the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon on September 24.
The 34-year-old, from Merkinch, has also volunteered with Sight Action for a number of years. He started by digitising audiotapes into mp3 files for use as talking books for those who are blind or partially sighted – a service his granny used.
He said: "I have received tremendous help through Sight Action and I just wanted to be involved in some way as it’s such a good charity. It’s a real community asset."
Marcus who has a background in IT, lost the sight in his left eye following an accident in 2003.
He added: "I feel healthier now and I’m also really inspired seeing what other people with similar conditions can do.
"I’ve learned that it’s important to talk to people and to use organisations like Sight Action.
"Don’t get stuck in a rut. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Don’t focus on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do – life goes on."
Mr Konoso was inspired to push himself to take part in the marathon by others involved in the charity.
He said: "Volunteer co-ordinator Sarah Shaw has been a big help to me. Her organisational skills helped me to find my focus and help create a digitised audio library.
"She gave me opportunities that most wouldn’t because of my unsettling past. Basically it was her aptitude for her volunteers and her work ethic to help sensory impaired folk, that inspired me to do the marathon."
He believes his Christian faith has also played an important part in his recovery and progression.
Marcus, who is over 6ft and weighs 15 stone, said being such a big guy hasn’t been easy when it comes to training.
He added: "It’s been hard going. It’s my first marathon so it’s a big deal for me. I hope to do it in three-and-a-half hours. I have put in a lot of training and now run 23 miles every weekend which has upped my fitness."
He hopes to raise around £200 for Sight Action, which serves blind and visually impaired people in the Highlands and Western Isles by providing a number of services that support and enhance their quality of life.
Sight Action has 2500 people on its database and welcomes around 500 new clients each year.