Funny fundraiser for serious disease
Published Tuesday, May 1, 2012 6:09PM MDT
A fundraiser is being held on Thursday to raise money to help combat genetic forms of blindness and features local comics and performers at one of the city's most popular attractions.
Comic Vision is part of a national tour and one of the biggest fundraisers for The Foundation for Fighting Blindness.
The FFB was established in 1974 to find ways to restore sight to people with genetic forms of blindness.
Researchers estimate that more than one million Canadians are currently living with blindness or a significant loss of vision.
Dean Rawleigh is just 16 years old and has retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that causes night blindness and a gradual narrowing of vision.
Dean still has most of his vision, but his eyes get tired so he uses a computer and talking books to help him with his school work.
Dean's mother Tracey has the same disease and is legally blind and his younger brother also has the disease.
"It's one thing to be visually impaired or legally blind, but when it's your kids it's tough," said Tracey.
There is currently no cure for the disease, but Tracey says a lot has changed since she was diagnosed over 30 years ago.
The medical community now has a much better understanding of how retinitis pigmentosa is inherited.
A great deal of the research now focuses on gene therapy which essentially uses a new source of genes to replace the old ones that aren't functioning properly.
"I kind of see a cure coming really quick. I feel like I'm going to have my vision for my whole life. But there's always that underlying fear of going completely blind, but I would like to think that I won't," said Dean.
The Foundation Fighting Blindness has become the country's leading private supporter of retina research and all funds collected through Comic Vision's Calgary event stay in the province.
Comic Vision is at Heritage Park's Gasoline Alley on Thursday, May 3 and gets underway at 6:30 p.m. with a reception and show time is at 8:00 p.m.
Comics, Derek Edwards, Frank Spadone and Pete Zedlacher will be on stage to entertain the guests.
There will be a live and silent auction and guest can participate in Comic Vision's signature game "Glasses On/Off'.
For more information, visit the Comic Vision website.