Boston, MA - On Saturday, April 18th South Plainfield native and New England College of Optometry (NECO) student Rebecca Deffler will compete in the 2015 Blindfold Challenge sponsored by the Boston Athletic Association.

Deffler, a second year student at NECO, will don a blindfold and attempt to race her way through a 5K course assisted by her non-blindfolded classmate, Katelyn Vilasi. Vilasi will help Deffler navigate as if she were visually impaired.

The duo is teaming up to raise money and awareness for the Perkins School, one of the longest standing institutions that benefits the blind, deafblind and visually impaired. They are almost halfway to reaching their goal of $1,000 donated by race day.

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“I think it’s going to be different than running a normal 5K,” Deffler, an avid runner says. “When I run a normal 5K I’m usually by myself, and this time I’m going to be a lot more dependent on someone else to lead me around.”

Although her teammate has never run a 5K before, Deffler is confident Vilasi’s background in dance and other artistic forms of athletics will help them get to the finish line. “The big thing is this is how blind athletes really do train and compete, so I think for me…for a lack of a better term, it’s going to be pretty eye-opening” she said, only half joking.

Deffler, 24, is a recent graduate of Gettysburg College and lends her time to the NECO Lions Club, the Optometric honor society Beta Sigma Kappa, and her school’s student council.

To donate to the B.A.A Blindfold Challenge or to learn more about the Perkins School, please visit Deffler & Vilasi’s fundraising website at: