Raleigh-Durham Chapter Welcome Letter

I became a member of the Raleigh-Durham Chapter Board of Directors in 2008 after participating as a presenter in one of the Chapter Meetings. I am a genetic counselor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who specializes in people with retinal degenerative conditions. Genetic counselors are healthcare professionals with specific training in how to educate and support individuals with genetic conditions. My role involves helping patients learn more about their retinal condition, such as how the condition is inherited, how their condition might progress and what, if any, treatment is available. I assist patients with genetic testing to help confirm their diagnosis, establish the inheritance pattern, and/or determine who else in their family could also inherit the condition. In the future, we hope to use the results of genetic testing to help guide therapies and treatments. I also educate and help link my patients to services and resources available to them. One of the most important resources at my disposal is the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

I believe in this organization because I can see the fruits of its labor; from funding the basic science research which has now led to the development of clinical treatment trials. FFB makes a difference! The money that is raised is used responsibly and allocated to researchers who are just as passionate about restoring vision as my patients and their healthcare providers. In addition to funding research, FFB wants to educate and lend support to individuals with retinal degenerative conditions, which is my goal as a genetic counselor.

As president, I would like to continue build on the Raleigh-Durham Chapter’s success in fundraising, education and support that Jane and Ed have begun. I will need your help! In addition to needing creative and motivating individuals to serve on our board of directors, we also need to know how to support your needs better to grow the chapter membership bigger and even more successful. I hope that you will contact me and/or members of the chapter’s board of directors with your ideas and needs; from raising money for research to topics you would like to learn more about at our regular chapter meetings.

It is so very difficult as a healthcare provider to tell my patients that there is no cure for their condition. Much work has been done by the Foundation Fighting Blindness to work towards funding the research needed to help develop potential treatments, but more work is needed. I am willing to roll up my sleeves to help fight blindness, and I hope I can count on your support in this fight. Please feel free to contact me or the local FFB office to learn more about volunteer opportunities, fundraising opportunities, attending regular chapter meetings and/or positions available on our leadership board.

Kristy Lee, MS, CGC
Chapter President