Can you read this?
If so, be grateful because more than 10 million Americans are affected by blinding retinal diseases that make ordinary activities such as reading, watching movies, and playing sports a serious challenge if not impossible.
Grace (pictured) is one of those Americans.
At age 7, Grace is affected by Stargardt’s Disease, a progressive retinal disease otherwise known as juvenile macular degeneration.
Without a cure, Grace’s vision will continue to worsen and she will eventually become legally blind.
Please watch the short video below to hear Grace explain how having Stargardt’s impacts her day-to-day life.
My dad suffered from progressive macular degeneration but not until much later in his life. During much of his retirement, he was unable to read, watch television, or identify people he knew well without hearing their voice or having them identify themselves. His favorite pastime – watching football, basketball, and baseball on TV – was nearly impossible, made more difficult by the fact he was also hard of hearing.
For most of Dad’s life, however, he had his hearing and his sight and he lived a full and productive life with the benefit of both. Children and younger adults who find themselves with retinal disease have a much rougher road ahead and the fight to find a cure (to date, there is none) is paramount.
Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) is a 501c-3 not-for-profit organization working to find a cure for retinal diseases that affect good people like Grace and my late father. The signature fundraising event for the FFB is the Vision Walk which is held in many cities throughout the United States.
There is no fee to register for the Vision Walk. However, there are individual, team, and corporate sponsors who set fundraising goals and make on-line donations easy and fun!
This Sunday, my husband, Frank, and I will be walking with Gracie’s Team for the Chicagoland walk which will take place in suburban Elk Grove Village. I learned of this event and this foundation from friends of mine who also happen to be Gracie’s grandparents. I was touched by their humility and, of course, by Grace’s personality!
I hope you will consider either participating in a walk near you or donating five or ten bucks to this great cause. The more support Grace and others affected by retinal disease receive, the brighter their lives and their futures.
Thank you so much for caring!