Message from President
Dear Friends of the FFB Jacksonville Chapter:
Welcome to the Jacksonville Area Chapter of the Foundation Fighting Blindness! My name is Adriann Keve, and I am proud and honored to serve as your chapter president. Our goal as a chapter is to provide support and outreach for people affected by retinal degenerative diseases and their loved ones while raising money for research for treatments and cures for retinal degenerative diseases.
I would like to share with you why I became involved with the Foundation Fighting Blindness. I began having trouble seeing in grade school, so I got glasses. They helped for a while, but eventually they weren't enough. I was taken to an optometrist who examined me and concluded my vision was perfectly fine. This doctor told my parents, in front of me, that I was attention-seeking, and that I was making up my vision troubles. Fortunately, my parents tried a vision specialist after this, and they could see something was wrong but couldn't provide a diagnosis. I was eventually referred to the University of Iowa, where I was finally diagnosed with Stargardt disease at age 12. I managed to get by in school with no assistive technology until college. I learned the hard way that university coursework is too much to handle when you can’t see the chalkboard and struggle to read the textbooks. Several years later, I moved to Florida with my husband, and I wanted to meet other people like myself and learn more about resources for people with vision impairments, and that’s how I found the Jacksonville FFB chapter. Through the resources I learned about from people involved with the chapter I was able to return to college and not only earn a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Communication, but I also graduated with high honors. I believe strongly in the FFB’s mission to raise funds for research for treatments and cures of retinal degenerative diseases and to provide support and guidance to those who need it.
When I was diagnosed, I asked my ophthalmologist about treatments or cures, and he told me there were none, and there would likely be none in my lifetime. Now, only 20 years later, we are seeing treatments and cures in clinical trials, and it’s exciting and rewarding to know I’ve played a part in helping advance that research through my participation with the FFB.
The Jacksonville chapter is one of many across the country that works hard to help people keep current on the latest research and developments concerning retinal diseases. We also provide knowledge about support services and other opportunities that are available in the Jacksonville area. Over the past several years chapter members have heard from retinal specialists, low vision specialists and more at Speaker Series Presentations that are provided to the public free of charge. I encourage you to check our Facebook page for details on upcoming events.
There are volunteer opportunities for everyone, and we would love to have you as part of our chapter. We are committed to growing the Jacksonville chapter and we welcome your input. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions. I would love to hear from you!
Adriann Keve, Chapter President