by Ted Boardman
Co-Captain, Team ACBi/
Secretary, Heartland ACB of Indiana
For the second year, the Heartland and South Central chapters of the American Council of the Blind formed a combined team to participate in the Foundation Fighting Blindness VisionWalk. I have retinitis pigmentosa, and this cause has been very important to me and others who are experiencing gradually increasing blindness from a degenerative retinal disease.
The VisionWalk is an annual event in major cities around the country to raise awareness and money that goes to help fund research studies for the prevention and treatment of degenerative retinal diseases.
Nineteen chapter members, family members and friends walked for Team South Central ACBi and raised $1,445 toward the event goal of $85,000. Donations are still being accepted through December 31, but the event total currently stands at $75,032.
Over 800 walkers participated in the event on a beautiful sunny walk along the White River Canal. At the finish line was Ms. World, April Lufriu, who has retinitis pigmentosa and has made it a goal to raise awareness. The Vision Expo at the Indiana State Library immediately followed the VisionWalk, and we enjoyed going right into the midwest’s largest trade show of products for the blind and visually impaired.
Also part of the Vision Expo was a presentation by Dr. Richard Windsor and Dr. Laura Windsor, experts in the field of low vision rehabilitation, who provided an update on research and treatment options that was very current, and showcased the latest in low vision aids. I picked up a Ruby portable magnifier from Freedom Scientific to replace a much bulkier and therefore less usable portable CCTV.
I would like to thank everyone who participated, but particularly Rita Kersh, our team co-captain, for her great fundraising, everyone who very generously donated, and Barbara Salisbury for encouraging participation and helping coordinate transportation. Volunteers from the IU School of Optometry also joined us to make sure we had enough sighted people to walk with unsighted walkers. There are more participants each year for both the VisionWalk and the combined chapter team. We hope to have even more participation in 2013.