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Rich Shea

As the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ associate director of communications, Rich writes and edits content for all of the Foundation’s print and online publications, including its blog, Eye on the Cure. Previously, he was a journalist for more than 20 years, covering everything from education to entertainment to public health. As an Eye on the Cure blogger, he writes posts about Foundation members, events and researchers as well as coping and lifestyle issues.

The following articles were authored by Rich Shea

VISIONS 2015, Faces of VISIONS – Amy and Nathan Hayes

Amy and Nathan HayesOne of the wonderful things about the Foundation’s annual conference—taking place this year in FFB’s founding city of Baltimore—is it draws all kinds of people from around the world. And while they’ve come to gather research information and hear motivational speakers and meet others like themselves, each has his or her own story to tell.
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VISIONS 2015, FFB’s National Conference — In Our Founding City!

skyline of BaltimoreIt was 44 years ago that a handful of Baltimore-area families—intent on wiping out the vision-robbing retinal diseases affecting their members—established the Foundation Fighting Blindness. They soon discovered how daunting that task would be, but also offered each other support and solace during a very dark time.
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Sun and Funds: FFB’s Annual Summer Campaign

Summer Challenge web pageWe all know that Memorial Day is not, technically, the first day of summer. But seeing as we like to stretch summer out as much as possible, it only makes sense to kick it off… well… a few weeks early. The same premise is behind FFB’s Summer Challenge to End Blindness campaign, which began Memorial Day weekend and continues through the upcoming season.
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A (Fundraising) Bicycle Built for Two

TThomas and Joewo men on a tandem bike, one of them blind, is not something you see every day. And that’s the point. “Here’s an old guy and a blind guy riding across the country. What can you do?”

That’s Joe Shearer, a retired, and sighted, United States Air Force veteran who, along with Thomas Hyatt, who has retinitis pigmentosa, set out today on a 4,100-mile trek from Oregon to Virginia. Their goal is to raise awareness and funds for three nonprofit groups, including the Foundation Fighting Blindness, before they finish up in late August.
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“You Don’t Look Blind”

EyeCure - don't look blind 2 bPerhaps the biggest misconception about people affected by retinal diseases is that they see nothing at all. While some have, indeed, gone completely blind, most are in the process of losing their vision. And depending on the person, and the disease, this takes years or decades. In some cases, central vision goes first, in others, peripheral vision.
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The Philanthropy 50: The Gunds Make the List of Top Donors in 2014

Gordon and Llura GundIt’s quite a list. On it, among others, are the Gateses, a Rockefeller, Google’s co-founders, a former New York City mayor and the founding president of Facebook. A list of America’s richest people, you ask? Well, not exactly. Compiled by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, “The Philanthropy 50” is a ranking of the country’s top donors in 2014, who gave almost $10 billion, collectively, to a plethora of non-profits. Coming in at #37 is a couple near and dear to FFB’s heart—Gordon and Llura Gund.
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The Story Behind Be My Eyes, a New App for the Blind

Hans WibergConsidering how long trees have been around, it’s hard to believe dendrochronology, the practice of dating trees by their rings, wasn’t invented till the mid-1940s. “Anyone could have come up with that sooner,” Hans Jørgen Wiberg, a 51-year-old Denmark resident, says with a chuckle. “I kind of feel the same way.”
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‘Maybe I’ll Come Up with a Cure’ – Nathan Hayes’ Story

Nathan HayesLike his parents, Nathan Hayes keeps up with the latest advances in retinal research. He’s even had some skin removed, so that a researcher can create stem cells that may someday restore the vision he’s lost to retinitis pigmentosa. “I figured I’ve learned so much about the science, I might be a researcher myself,” he says. “Maybe I’ll come up with a cure.”
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Changing Someone’s Life: A New Video Emphasizes the Need to Support FFB’s Mission

Allison CoronaGrowing up, Allison Corona could see shapes and silhouettes, but not the faces of loved ones clearly enough to know if they were happy or sad. She needed a cane to navigate her schools’ hallways. And in a dark room, or outside at night, she was completely blind. “It was like living a half-life,” Allison, 22, recalls in a new FFB video, “Restoring Sight, One Treatment at a Time.”
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Ready for the Spotlight: Rebecca Alexander Shares Her Story of Living with Usher Syndrome

Rebecca AlexanderFive years ago, when Rebecca Alexander appeared on The Today Show with her brother Peter, she already had quite a tale to share. Nearing 30, she was single, living in New York City and working as a full-time psychotherapist and part-time spinning instructor. She also had Usher syndrome, a disorder that causes both hearing and vision loss—and which she’d mostly kept under wraps.

After the show, “a literary agent asked about writing a book,” recalls Rebecca, whose parents, Terry and David, are national trustees of the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB). “And I thought, ‘I don’t know what to write about, or that anyone would care.’”
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