“These are more than races to me. These are goals,” Don Balcom, a visually impaired U.S. Navy veteran, told 60 employees at AIG’s Boston office this year, just after he and another Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA) athlete successfully completed the Boston Marathon. To prepare for the grueling 26.2-mile course, Don said he woke up at 1:30 every morning, got on his treadmill and ran 10 to 20 miles. “It is very fulfilling to cross something off your bucket list.”
Kirk Bauer, Executive Director of DSUSA, introduced Don and 12-year U.S. Air Force veteran Adam Popp at the breakfast event, which took place during AIG’s Global Volunteer Month. Kirk thanked AIG for its continued support and strong partnership. The company has teamed up with DSUSA for over 11 years, helping raise nearly $5 million through the annual Winter Summit in Stowe, Vermont.
Said Adam, “Running has been a huge part of my recovery physically and, more importantly, mentally.” He pointed out that he has only been running for two years or so. A Purple Heart recipient, Adam was injured in Afghanistan in 2007 and had his right leg amputated above the knee.
Concluding the event, Kirk, Don and Adam emphasized how important AIG’s contributions are for children, adults and veterans with disabilities, reiterating that without the continued support, they wouldn’t be able to do what they do.
· Ranked #1 among visually impaired runners by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in the U.S. and 13th in the world.
· Won the Visually Impaired Division at the 2016 Boston Marathon, and finished fourth in the division this year (03:07:24).
· Selected last year by the IPC to represent Team USA at the London Marathon.
· Finished second in the Mobility Impaired Division at this year’s Boston Marathon (04:10:41).
· Became one of only a few amputees to finish the 100-mile ultra run at the Brazos Bend 100 in Texas in December (26:35).