Message from the President:
Thank you for your interest in the Northern Lights Chapter of the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Our goal as a chapter is to keep you up on the latest chapter news and research.
Northern Lights (NL) is the Minnesota Chapter of the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB). Our mission is to provide information and support for those with retinal disease, and raise funds to support FFB research. We meet four to five times per year at the Linden Hills Rec Center in Minneapolis. We host speakers, share chapter and research news, and provide the rare opportunity for people with retinal disease and their family and friends to meet.
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Register for the 11th Annual Twin Cities VisionWalk on Sunday, September 24, 2017 at the Lake Harriet Bandshell.
Chapter Presentations and Events
6th Annual Twin Cities Visionary Awards Dinner, Dining in the Dark
We invite you to participate in a truly unique dining experience, the 6th Annual Twin Cities Visionary Awards Dinner, Dining in the Dark. The Hilton Minneapolis is the beautiful setting for the masked dinner on Friday, May 12, 2017. Join us as we present the Visionary Award to Mike Lindell, local boy done-good, inventor and CEO of Chaska-based MyPillow®. A visionary in his field, Mike’s passion and dedication exemplify the same commitment and determination the Foundation has in driving the research for therapies, treatments, and cures of retinal degenerative diseases. Frank Vascellaro, news co-anchor at WCCO-TV, is Master of Ceremonies and auctioneer for the evening. By wearing light-blocking masks during dinner, guests gain some insight as to what it’s like to do a simple daily task, like eating, while blind.
The evening also includes silent and live auctions, cork pull and sweepstakes. Register online at www.FightBlindness.org/TwinCitiesDinner. For sponsorship opportunities or more information, call Lori Quinn at 847.680.0100 or email LQuinn@FightBlindness.org.
Attendees at the February 25, 2017 chapter meeting had the opportunity to hear about many resources available in the Twin Cities community for those people with low vision or who are visually impaired. We thank Vision Loss Resources for providing meeting space and our speakers for their time. A lot of good information was presented. One lucky attendee won a door prize, valued at over $500, which was donated by the Low Vision Store.
If you were not able to attend but would like to get information on the many services these agencies provide, please use the list below.
Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library, Catherine Durivage, Library Program Director, Phone 507-384-6860 – The library provides direct library services to Minnesotans who because of a visual, physical or reading disability have difficulty reading print materials. They have a great no-cost mailing program for audiobooks! www.education.state.mn.us/mde/fam/mbtbl/
Minnesota State Services for the Blind, Lisa Larges, Outreach Coordinator, Phone 651-539-2278 - State Services for the Blind provides the tools, training and technology to help people who are blind, visually impaired, DeafBlind or experiencing vision loss to live independently and to prepare for, find and keep a job. www.mnssb.org
Vision Loss Resources, Megan Starr, Community Services, Phone 612-871-2222 – VLR offers services, skills and community of support to assist in regaining independence after vision loss. Megan works on home assessments, with support groups, outreach and presentations.
VSA Minnesota, John Skaalen, Access and Grants Coordinator, Phone 612-332-3888 – VSA Minnesota awards grants to emerging artists with disabilities, promotes artists with disabilities for performances and classroom presentations; offers accessibility training and grants for non-profit arts groups. They have a statewide calendar of events offering audio description. Visit www.vsamn.org.
The Low Vision Store, Terry Nelson, Phone 1-800-871-8780 or 651-203-2200 – providing “one stop shopping” for all your low vision and blindness products. www.lowvisionstore.org
OrCam Technologies, Aliza Olenick, Phone 612-940-9037 - The world's most advanced wearable assistive technology solution. OrCam’s mission is to harness the power of artificial vision by incorporating pioneering technology into a wearable platform. www.orcam.com
We’re busy planning the next chapter meeting, so stay tuned!
2016 Volunteer of the Year - Heather Pomeroy
In 2012, Heather Pomeroy’s then six-year old son, Jack, was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. She said, “There were a lot of tears and anxiety those first few months. When I was looking to find a group or someone who knew how we were feeling, I found the Foundation Fighting Blindness and the Northern Lights Chapter of Minnesota. I knew right away these were our people and wanted to be a part of the bigger, brighter picture - so we signed our family up for our first VisionWalk and “Jack’s Jed-Eye” was born.” Since that time, Heather has not only led her family in fundraising but also in promoting awareness of FFB in her community. Their walk team has raised $31,768 for the Twin Cities VisionWalk. Heather has also raised awareness - and money - by holding kid-friendly Dining in the Dark events at Jack’s elementary school and having “Root Beer Socials” at the hospital where she works. In 2015, Heather stepped up to be the Walk Chair and did a tremendous job of outreach which resulted in a record 54 teams registering. She continues in that role for the 2016 VisionWalk too! Heather also “took the show on the road” to Twin Cities Live “Rockstar Row” (KSTP TV5) which gave her the opportunity to promote the Twin Cities VisionWalk. She is the kind of person who is always willing to go the extra mile to help out and make our VisionWalk successful and fun for our families.
Pomeroy Dining in the Dark event
Events Manager, Midwest Region
977 Lakeview Parkway, Suite 140
Vernon Hills, IL 60061