Kym Crosby is the anchor relay runner on Chico State’s track team, is legally blind and training for the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Crosby is albino, which means there is no pigment in her hair, eyes or skin.
Crosby sets the pace for her teammates at practice behind University Stadium on a practice track.
Crosby gets a closer look at her best time on Coach Manny’s clipboard. Crosby has to look at everything up close.
Keystone is a black lab who guides Crosby through her daily activities. Crosby got Keystone from a guide dog company in Oregon in February 2012.
Crosby, Keystone and her boyfriend Evan Barry wait for the bus ride home.
“Running has made a major impact on my life,” Crosby said. “I went from being super shy all the time to not shy at all and I know it’s because doing track and working my way up being team captain in HS has really helped that. Now I’m not afraid to do or say anything.”
One of Crosby’s coaches, Oliver Hanf, was contacted by the USA track and field coach for the 2016 Paralympics. After a series of doctor’s notes and paper trail, Crosby is in the running to be on the 2016 in Rio. All she has to do is keep her times down.
Crosby, an exercise physiology major, first became interested in track and field in high school after her older brother, Darian Crosby, suggested the idea because of her speed and because she can’t play contact sports. She didn’t think she’d ever be good enough to run at the collegiate level.
Keystone watches from the bleachers or sidelines at every practice.
Crosby has to look at everything up close or have the text enlarged, for example; on her iPhone, iPad or textbooks.
“It’s a love-hate relationship,” Crosby said of Keystone.
“I feel safer and more independent,” Crosby said. “Before I didn’t feel comfortable enough to walk places by myself or even ride the bus.”
Crosby used a cane to get around before receiving Keystone. She used to have bruises from her thigh to her abdomen from her cane catching on un-evenpavement or other objects on the ground. But beyond these reasons, having a guide dog has brought a feeling of safety to her life.
“Even though I don’t know if he would do anything if someone were to bring harm to me, but just having him there makes me feel more at ease,” Crosby said.
Crosby figures out her workout for the day at her off season practice. This varies from lunges, running bleachers to sprints around the track.
Crosby waits for her teammates to catch up in the workout so she can move on to the next activity. “Come on, ladies,” Crosby said to herself.
“I’d say it’s like a mom and son relationship,” Crosby said. “He doesn’t show that he loves me, but he’s always watching over me, while I show him love constantly and smother him with it and he gets all embarrassed and shakes it off when secretly I know he loves it.”
Crosby finishes running bleachers even though she has shin splints and has difficulty seeing with the bright sun. Because there is no pigment in her eyes, it lets in too much light, which is why she wears extra dark sunglasses.
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