New York City Chapter VisionWalk Feature Story

Vision Walk 2013
by Thomas Dominick

2013 VisionWalk ParticipantsAre you someone with a retinal degenerative disease who is hopeful for the cures for your visual impairment? If you are, then fret no more, because the perfect way to help is to join the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ Vision Walk. Vision Walk is an annual, family-friendly 5K walk occurring in numerous communities across the country which allows you to join people who are committed to changing the future for people who are affected with retinal degenerative diseases. By supporting and donating money toward the Vision Walk, you are giving the Foundation Fighting Blindness the much-needed funds to support the important research that is being conducted in an attempt to find the cures for blindness and other retinal degenerative diseases.

My team, Family Ties, participated in the Vision Walk in New York City on April 20, 2013. Registration started at 8:00am at the Bandshell in Central Park and the walk began at 9:00am. There was food and drink, vendor tables and activities for kids such as games, face-painting and music, and they had a wonderful pool of volunteers to help. This was my third Vision Walk, but my first in NYC! The other two were in Raleigh, North Carolina. I have realized that no matter which Vision Walk you participate in, the people participating are enthusiastic and committed to the mission and this makes me happy.

In fact, the Vision Walk held in New York City has by far been one of the most successful walks, touting a total of forty-eight participating teams, over six hundred walkers, and raising $400,000 this year for FFB. Though forty eight teams may not sound like many, there is no limit to the amount of members that can be in each group; for example, my team, Family Ties, consisted of only six members, while the largest team consisted of about two hundred members who all wore Statue of Liberty hats. However, the amount of money raised is determined by spirit and determination rather than numbers, since even though my team was rather small, we were still able to come in fifth place for most money raised by raising over $11,000! It’s amazing how generous our friends and family were when we solicited their support. We have learned that people give generously when asked to fund the research into unlocking the mysteries of retinal diseases like the one my brother and I have.

Furthermore, corporate sponsorships helped the NYC Vision Walk meet its goal of $400,000. Big thanks go to the National Sponsors Genentech, Regeneron and Walmart who give tirelessly to all the Vision Walks held annually. Local support from Community Partners Camp Towanda, SUNY College of Optometry and Vitreous Retinal Macula Consultants of NY also helped meet the goal.
As a thank you to our supporters, Family Ties printed this Helen Keller quote on our thank you cards: “There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark.” I couldn’t have said it better. Hope to see you in NYC for Vision Walk 2014!