Pittsburgh, PA

Message from the President:

Dear Friends of the FFB Pittsburgh Chapter:

Welcome to the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Foundation Fighting Blindness! Our goal is to make our general chapter meetings beneficial in terms of education and support for people with retinal degenerative diseases. We also strive to provide a sense of community and hope. Our chapter covers a large area covering the western region of Pennsylvania.

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VisionWalk Update:

Let’s have a huge round of applause for our Walkers! We had a beautiful day for our great 10th Anniversary VisionWalk held on Sunday, October 15.

We had 305 walkers join us to support VisionWalk and FFB! The view from the Great Lawn was quite amazing! Something else that was amazing were the friends and families who got together to celebrate a very successful campaign this year to raise funds for the Foundation. We are currently at $83,000 and climbing, getting ever so closer to our goal of $101,000, which would be the SIXTH straight year to hit our goal. 


We want to give special thanks to our Walk Chairs, Cara Delestienne, Alix and Michael Paul; Family Chairs, Anthony Taliani and Arman Zarnegar; Medical Chairs Dr. José-Alain Sahel, Director, Dr. Jenny Will, and Dr. Ian Conner from UPMC, Dr. Srinivis Kondapallli from Everett & Hurite; Honorary Business Chair Francis Hurite, M.D. from Everett & Hurite; Youth Chair Benjamin Peters; Community Outreach Chair Lauren Wally, and our other Walk Committee members, Fran Pellegrino, Dee Allen, Sharon Humphrey, Krista Loper, Val Schoenfeld, and Betty Jane Emerick. Your leadership and dedication to the VisionWalk was the driving force behind our success.

Mark Taliani helped out in the emcee role his year, and did a great job throughout the morning.


We would also like to thank our sponsors: Our National Walk Partners, Allergan Foundation, Regeneron and Genentech; Community Champions UPMC Eye Center and Everett & Hurite, and Community Leaders, Chuck's Complete Auto Service, South Hills Toyota and the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children. Additional Community Supporters were the Insurance Consultants of Pittsburgh, Eyetique and Lee Eye. 

A special thank you to the many community sponsors and in-kind donors who made Sunday such a great day for so many, including Starbucks, Pittsburgh Fire Department, University of Pitt Cheerleaders, American Beverage Company, Vittner's Chips of Chicago, Trax Farms and our photographer, Megan Potoskey!

Special recognition goes out to the Delta Gammas from Carnegie Mellon and Washington & Jefferson for bringing top-notch volunteers, as well as the big groups from Allegheny College; the Georgia Tech Alums, Carnegie Mellon Circle K Club and Robert Morris University BEST students.

Our musical guests for 2017 were the The Adler and Barath Band, who brought some great blues for a nice change of pace this year. Great job guys!

Our professional warm-up instructor from Lifeforce Fitness Center was Becky Soder, who graciously volunteered her time to get everyone ready for the walk!

We welcomed back some additional entertainment this year, the group of volunteer Star Wars costumers from Garrison Carida, who were a lot of fun for our families!

And finally, a HUGE thank you to all the Team Captains, walkers, and volunteers! Your support, dedication, and energy made the day a true success.
With you a Cure is in Sight!


Our top Pittsburgh VisionWalk teams and their captains: 
Congratulations on an amazing performance!  There is still money coming in! 

•  TEAM PAUL, Alix Paul ($23,983), a new Pittsburgh record! 
•  EVERETT & HURITE, Fran Pellegrino ($16,183), bringing E&H to over $100,000 raised!
•  THERE'S NO "EYE" IN TEAM, Cara Delestienne ($8,190)
•  UPMC, Lauren Wally ($6,100)
•  MADDIE'S MARCHERS, Emily Watkins ($3,855).
•  CHRISTIE'S SIGHT SEEKERS, Lynn Belliotti ($3,300)
•  THE EYES HAVE IT, Anthony Taliani ($3,086)
•  W. PA. SCHOOL FOR BLIND CHILDREN, Beth Ramella ($2,580)
•  JONATHAN DOLPHINS, Jeff Lukacsena ($2,080)
•  ENVISION A BRIGHT FUTURE, Ed Morascyzk ($2,000)
•  CHARLIE'S ANGELS, Marta Gottus ($1,870)
•  KELLY'S KREW, Kelly Barca ($1,800)
•  CAPITAL EYE, Matt Mazer ($1,086)
•  FAMILY H, Sharon Humphrey ($920)
•  THE IEEE, Rachel LaMarco ($785)
•  TEAM ZARNEGAR, Arman Zarnegar ($570)

Here are the individual fundraisers who raised at least $1,000 each. Congratulations on that extraordinary accomplishment!

Emily Watkins
Cara Delestienne
Ed Morascyzk
Roger Graf
Michael Paul
Marilyn Lasher
Kelly Barca
Denise Devinney
Fran Pellegrino
Jeff Lukacsena
Alix Paul
Lynn Belliotti

And we also recognized the Largest Walk Team:

•  EVERETT & HURITE, retained their title with a whopping 80
•  UPMC with 26 walkers
•  TEAM WE CARE had 22 walkers
•  THERE'S NO EYE IN TEAM with 16 walkers
•  THE EYES HAVE IT! with 15 walkers 
•  MADDIE'S MARCHERS had 14 walkers

Chapter Presentations and Events:

On Saturday, March 24, 2018, please join the Foundation Fighting Blindness as we present the Pittsburgh Vision Seminar from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This is a FREE event. 

It will take place at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square, 300 W Station Square Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Join the Foundation Fighting Blindness and our Pittsburgh Chapter for this free half-day seminar. Our featured speakers will share the latest information on current treatments, clinical trials, research advancements, genetic testing and more. Click here for more details.

Thank you to all who attended our November chapter presentation on maintaining cone function in retinal degenerations presented by one of the top researchers in the world Dr. José-Alain Sahel. We hope you found the material presented both informative and helpful.

Featured Volunteer:

Bob Morgenstern

When Bob Morgenstern and his brother, Chuck, were growing up in the 1940s, they had significant issues with their vision. The doctors could only conclude that they had "bad eyes." Not only was research for their disease, retinitis pigmentosa, virtually nonexistent, doctors were unable to even diagnosis it. Their parents sent them to "sight-saving" school, which ultimately provided no help in preserving their vision.

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Contact Us:


Steve Sroka
Associate Director of Events, Midwest

977 Lakeview Parkway, Suite 140
Vernon Hills, IL 60061
Phone: 847-680-0100 Ext. 25
Fax: 847-680-1050

Mary Ann Subleski,
Director Chapter Development

977 Lakeview Parkway Suite 140
Vernon Hills, IL  60061
847-680-0100 Ext. 26
Fax: 847-680-1050