Wisconsin Chapter Featured Volunteer

Featured Volunteer - Carrie Colano

Vincent and Carrie ColanoI’ll never forget the day at Milwaukee Eye Institute when I was told Vincent has an incurable retinal disease. Vince was nine years old and in 3rd grade. It started years prior with glasses which didn’t help. It then went on to three years of different doctors, eye exams, vision therapy and many tests. In January of 2005, it was determined that Vincent had a genetic vision disease called Stargardts.

You never think your child will have an incurable disease. You don’t believe your child will have a health condition that you can’t fix. Stargardts was something we couldn’t fix. As with any parent, we don’t want to see our children feel pain, have discomfort or suffer an even greater amount of life’s difficulties due to any disability.

Fast forward to 2013. At age 17, Vincent is healthy, active, does academically well and is an overall likable young man. His vision is 20/400 which relates to being legally blind. Vince cannot drive and certain tasks are more difficult for him due to obvious reasons. He compensates very well and never sympathizes for himself. He exercises regularly and is very tone and strong. He earns some income working part time with family. He was a DJ for his high school radio station for 1-1/2 years and has traveled with a high school trip to Spain and Portugal. He loves skateboarding, long boarding, conversing with many friends and computer games. He’s good with computers and future career plans are to become a software engineer.

The VisionWalk is making a difference for Vincent and all others who suffer with devastating vision loss. It allows the Foundation Fighting Blindness to work on finding a cure. The future is hopeful. A cure is in sight!

We are very grateful to all who donate, walk and pray for us.

We greatly appreciate your support!

Thank you very much!

Carrie Colano

Wisconsin VisionWalk, Team “Vinny’s Voyage”

Past Featured Volunteer

Nicole EversonWithout a doubt, one of Wisconsin’s most active FFB volunteers is Nicole Everson. She has Usher syndrome, which is a combination of retinitis pigmentosa and hearing loss. With only 10-13 degrees of vision left and severe hearing loss, she had a successful cochlear implant last fall and that has given her a huge boost. But she never needed the boost as far as her enthusiasm for volunteering and for supporting the Foundation Fighting Blindness are concerned. Her enthusiasm and efforts are infectious!

She is “proud to be a part of something that is huge” but cannot do it alone. So not only does she welcome all her fellow Wisconsin residents to partake in the activities of the Foundation, but she has enlisted the help of friends and relatives from all over the state. Her fundraising sidekick is her mom, Sharon, who has helped her put together many successful personal fundraising events to raise funds for research.

Nicole joined the fundraising efforts by serving as co-chair of the inaugural Milwaukee VisionWalk in 2009, and is serving in that same capacity again this year. With the help of her team’s $6,700, the walk exceeded its goal and raised $65,000, a great feat considering the walk itself was announced just five months before the event.

Friends from all over the state have continued to help with the 2010 walk. Her family recently hosted an Art Appreciation Festival for the Blind, which had over 40 pieces of art donated from artists all over the country, as well as a bake sale, craft show, live band which donated its time, and a silent auction. Nicole and her mom also host a poker tournament, sell wristbands and POP Eyes, have hosted a Bee-Cause luncheon, and just about every other fundraising activity you can think of!

We are proud and thankful that she has taken a leadership role with the Milwaukee VisionWalk! With her assistance and influence, this year’s walk is on track to crush the goal and be one of the most successful second-year walks in the country. Nicole has become an inspiration to everyone involved with FFB in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. Her constant good energy is an example for all to follow.