Blinded teen to run half marathon for abused children

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A year ago, 17-year-old Jordan Rodriguez lost his sight to a a hereditary mitochondrial disease.

"It was so gradual that at first it seems I just needed glasses," he said. "It's weird, it doesn't follow any normal hereditary trend. It can go like 10 generations without anyone having it and then just randomly show up."

But instead of giving up, the senior at Desert Mountain High School is moving on.

"It's hard because I can't appreciate art anymore or enjoy travel as much but I still can do a lot of things," he said.

Now he's hitting the pavement, preparing to run a half marathon in Toronto Canada on Oct. 15 on behalf of Child Help, a local organization that helps abused children.

"My goal is to raise $10,000," Jordan said. "Abused kids need the help especially with their parents being the ones that hurt them, they really have no way to help themselves."

Jordan chose Child Help because his mother, Sarah, works as a vice president for the group. She says her son's drive to succeed in the race inspires her more every day.

"Since this happened, I know that Jordan is going to do something great from this," Sarah said. "Maybe he'll be a scientist and find a cure, maybe he'll speak to people and be an inspiration because I know every day he's an inspiration to me."

Jordan is a bit more humble. He says running has helped him deal with losing his sight, and he wants to use his new passion to help others.

"It's more motivating because I can still jog and even with my disability I can still perform in a half marathon and I can show people that no matter what happened to you, you can still make a difference," he adds. "I always feel like everything has a silver lining."

Jordan plans to go to college next fall to study business. If you'd like to donate to his cause, you can go to