Hundreds touched by vision loss will rally to fight blindness at the 10th Annual Fort Wayne VisionWalk on Saturday, June 11, at Headwaters Park – Germanfest Grounds. Event walkers hope to raise $60,000 to support promising gene therapy, stem cell, and pharmaceutical-based research that could save and even restore sight. A signature event for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the national VisionWalk program has raised more than $40 million for blindness research and tens of thousands have participated in VisionWalks across the country. Blinding retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration and Usher syndrome affect more than 10 million Americans, but the Foundation Fighting Blindness is funding cutting-edge research on preventions, treatments and cures.
This year, VisionWalk is celebrating its 10th anniversary in Fort Wayne. The Fort Wayne Chapter of the Foundation Fighting Blindness was founded in 2006, and co-founder and former Fort Wayne Chapter President Jim Platzer continues to be an advocate for FFB and participate in the local VisionWalk.
Platzer has a retinal degenerative disease called retinitis pigmentosa (RP), an inherited eye disease characterized by night blindness and loss of peripheral vision leading to blindness. He has less than 5 percent of his field of vision remaining and uses a Leader Dog for mobility. “I remember receiving my diagnosis, it was devastating news and I thought my life was over,” says Platzer. “But with the support of several organizations and lots of fantastic people who kept me moving forward, I feel like a blessed man.”
Ten years ago when he and his wife Janice started the FFB Chapter in Fort Wayne, they wanted to do their part to fund the research for these diseases. As the chapter gained momentum, many joined, and they have taken it to the next level. “We could not be prouder of the Fort Wayne VisionWalk,” says Platzer. “This year’s walk will get us well past $600,000 raised over that 10 year period! Many thanks to FFB for driving the research forward and to Fort Wayne for the generous support.”
Hundreds of walkers, many of whom are affected by retinal disease, are expected at the free VisionWalk, which also includes children’s activities, refreshments, entertainment, and more. Guide dogs and strollers are welcome on the 2.8 mile walk course. Event leaders include Walk Chair Brenda Niccum; Family Team Co-Chairs Anne Palmer and Kristin Snyder; Chapter President Rick Dahlstrom, and Medical Chairs Kendra N. Cunegin, OD, Cataract & Laser Institute; Scott C. Richards, MD, The Retinal Institute; and Gohar Salam, MD, Retina Institute of Indiana / Vitreoretinal Consultants of Fort Wayne. Sponsors include Cataract & Laser Institute and The Retinal Institute.
Events Calendar Information
WHAT: Fort Wayne VisionWalk, Benefiting the Foundation Fighting Blindness
WHEN: Saturday, June 11, 2016
Registration: 8:30 a.m. | Walk Starts: 10 a.m.
WHERE: Headwaters Park – Germanfest
333 South Clinton Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
DETAILS: Join hundreds at the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ Fort Wayne VisionWalk to help raise awareness and funds for sight-saving research for retinal diseases including retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration and Usher syndrome, which affect more than 10 million Americans. People are invited to form teams or walk independently at the free, family-friendly event, which will also include activities for children, refreshments, entertainment and more. To participate or support the VisionWalk, visit www.FightBlindness.org/FortWayneVisionWalk.
CONTACT: Rachel Martin, Events Manager, RMartin@FightBlindness.org, 847-680-0100