Mother Runs to Save Eyesight


Norma with her two sons Karl (left) and Hans (right).

Like any mom, Norma Bastidas would move mountains if she could to help her child. Eight years ago, Norma’s oldest son Karl was diagnosed with an eye condition that doctors told her would cause him to go blind. Norma was helpless to do anything to save his vision. She took up running as a way to help her cope with Karl’s incurable condition.

Norma was shocked when she first learned that 80 percent of blindness can be treated or prevented. “It bothered me as a mother,” she says. “I couldn’t imagine being in the position where my son could be cured, but I just didn’t have the money for his treatment, or didn’t have access to eye care at all.”

The length of Norma’s runs and her ambition to do something grew, evolving into her first ultra-marathon. Through her 777 Run for Sight, Norma became an ambassador for millions of blind and visually impaired people, raising significant funds for Operation Eyesight and other eye-related charities. She might not be able to help Karl, but she could make a difference in many other lives.

This summer, Norma’s once again lacing up her shoes to support Operation Eyesight. In July, she’ll run 135 miles (217 km) across Death Valley, California – one of the hottest places on earth – in the Badwater® 135. Norma knows the race will be incredibly challenging, but says it’s nothing compared to the suffering many blind people face every day.

You can read more about Norma and her sons on our blog at