St. Louis Chapter Featured Volunteer

Jacob Allmeyer was born May 5, 1995, a free-willed, loving little boy with the whole world at his hands. Our aspiration as parents was to ensure he would dream big and tackle any challenge head first. Well, needless to say, we had no idea there would be limitations to his dreams and abilities that he would not be able to overcome. It wasn’t until Jacob was five that we realized the limited world Jacob could see, and worse yet, couldn’t see at all.

As little clues were shed our way, we took Jacob to see an eye doctor. It was there and then we were told Jacob suffered from a retinal degenerative disease known as retinitis pigmentosa. More precisely, Jacob had NO rod cells to see at night and his cone cells were also in jeopardy which could lead to complete blindness at any given moment.

As parents, we were devastated, and blown away by this discovery. Knowing Jacob’s world was changed forever, we started doing some research and came across the Foundation Fighting Blindness. We also had to take measures to ensure any outsider— teachers, friends, relatives — were educated on this disease. However, over the years, we realized that nobody but Jacob or others like him, including his parents, would ever comprehend just how debilitating and tough every little day-to-day activity was for him.

If Jacob could have his way, he would have been playing football the first day someone would allow a child on a team. Jacob would go to sleep at night to ESPN from the time he was a toddler, throwing a spiral football and carrying on conversations with adults on professional NFL player stats, and most often correcting them with accurate information. You see, Jacob has not been able and will not be able to play the very sport he eats, sleeps and dreams about until the much-needed research for which FFB strives moves out of the trial stages.

Jacob, now 13, has an even greater fear.He is about to realize he won’t be able to do something that most boys take for granted … drive a car. Yes, that’s right!Can you imagine having to lean on any and everyone just to get from Point A to Point B? We all know how difficult it was to “fit in” as a teenager without having a handicap hovering over his head. We notice his vision continuing to diminish at a time when he needs it the most to feel capable and empowered in this great vast world of ours.

Our hopes and goals are to continue to support the Foundation by raising funds for research and also by participating in the nationwide event, VisionWalk.Team Jake the Snake has been a part of this event since its first appearance in the St. Louis area. We hope progress with its research will escalate rapidly in order to see Jacob’s vision restored in time for adulthood, so he may lead a care-free, independent life here on Earth.

The Allmeyer Family and Team Jake the Snake are blessed to have the support of the Foundation to endure these unfortunate times, as we realized just how many others like him are struggling too.We are not alone, and this in a slight way eases our pain. We wish for FFB to be recognized and supported for years to come!