Jay Cruz Semple is on a mission
Jay Cruz Semple is a man on a mission. Two missions to be accurate! He is targeting a place at next year's Tokyo Paralympics and he dreams of finding a cure for the degenerative eye condition that robbed him of his sight in 2014.
The irrepressible Glaswegian is a regular at Scotland's top races - Great Scottish Run, Paisley 10K, Stirling Marathon - where he has been guided by a number of runners including podium regular Kieran Cooper, Run 4 It's Scott Kennedy and Alex Osborne .
The loss of his sight was a shattering experience for Jay however he has found inspiration and motivation in the goal of seeing his 6-year-old-son Tyler-James once again.
Jay and young Tyler-James run together regularly – the pair enjoyed a bonanza during the Santa Dash season – and Jay was a proud parent when his son collected second prize in his race at Great Scottish Run's Super Saturday last October.
Jay told runABC Scotland online: "The dream of being able to see my son smile keeps me going through the hard times. Late on in races when the physical and mental effort starts to take its toll, I remember my last visual memories of Tyler-James, and the thought of being able to see him again, gives me a spur."
A combination of an intense exercise regime, a nutrient-rich diet and a fierce determination have been Jay's tools as he has battled to sustain the remnants of his sight, maintain his physical and mental wellbeing and look to a future with improved vision.
Jay believes that there are a number of treatments which could help reverse his sight loss and a key goal for him is to fundraise to pay for those treatments. Micro acupuncture at a New Jersey clinic is on the horizon and Jay is also exploring the potential of light therapy in Berlin and Gerson therapy in Mexico.
A glimmer of hope occurred at the Erskine Bridge Buster 10K in October when running with his friend Shona McCormack he was able to pick up some of the detail in the 8K marker. Jay said: "That was an unexpected boost and gives me hope that I might one day see a big improvement in my sight."
The condition that Jay suffers from is choroideremia which affects just 1 in 50,000 people and normally at a later stage in life than in your 30s when Jay was diagnosed.
Jay continued: "I have two immediate targets. One, is to find a training partner for regular track sessions, to help bring down my times to make Tokyo more than a pipe dream. Two, I'm looking to fund the cutting edge treatments that could reverse my sight loss."
If you're an athlete who runs sub-20 5k times and are interested in speaking to Jay about being involved in his training contact Jay on 07474 661633 or via Facebook.
If you would like to support Jay's fundraising efforts you can at Just Giving.
Image - Jay in trademark kilt with Zola Budd and Liz McColgan