Foundation Fighting Blindness To Host Blind Wine Tasting & Auction June 8 to Benefit Sight-Saving Research

Event Co-Chair Doesn’t Let Vision Loss Slow Her Down

Los Angeles, CA (April 8, 2013) — The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a national nonprofit focused on vision-saving research, will host a Blind Wine Tasting & Auction on Saturday, June 8, to raise awareness and critical funds to help develop treatments and cures for retinal diseases that affect more than 10 million Americans. The event, taking place at 2 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles, will offer guests tastes of a variety of wines from Temecula, Napa, Malibu and Paso Robles wineries.

Co-chairing the fundraiser are Yvonne Chester, of Napa, and Pamela Paterson, of Woodland Hills, who both know the impact of sight loss. Chester, a retired corporate securities lawyer and currently the Secretary of the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ Board of Directors, has the genetic retinal disease retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which is causing her to go blind. Despite having less than 1 percent of her vision left, she continues to pursue her passions, which include recently completing a culinary program at The French Laundry in Yountville (often named "Best Restaurant in the World"). She also sings with the Threshold Choir, whose mission is to sing to those who are dying. Paterson’s daughter Chelsea, age 18, is affected by Stargardt disease, a juvenile form of macular degeneration that robs central vision, prompting her mother’s leadership in the Los Angeles Chapter. A past chapter president and vice president of membership, Paterson has worked hard to raise awareness and funds, including serving as chair for the Los Angeles Dining in the Dark benefit. And, her VisionWalk team, Save the Balls, has raised thousands for the Foundation’s research efforts since 2008.

Both women are hopeful for the future because of promising research and clinical trials that are underway for retinal diseases. In February, the FDA approved the first-ever retinal implant, called the Argus II, which can help people with advanced RP have better mobility and see shapes. And, breakthrough gene therapy clinical trials have restored significant vision in children and young adults affected with a rare retinal disease, including a young boy who could put away his white cane and play baseball after the treatment. There are also human studies underway evaluating stem cell-based treatments and pharmaceuticals to help people who are losing their vision.

Individual tickets are available for $100 each or $125 at the door and sponsorship packages begin at $500. For ticket and sponsorship information, contact Cheyanne Sauter at 310-450-2910 or CSauter@FightBlindness.org. To request media credentials for the event, or to coordinate an interview with a spokesperson, contact Allie Gebhardt at 410-423-0643 or AGebhardt@FightBlindness.org.

What:

Blind Wine Tasting & Auction, Benefiting the Foundation Fighting Blindness

Where:

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza
2025 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067

When:

Saturday, June 8, 2013
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

About Foundation Fighting Blindness

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is a national non-profit organization driving the research that will lead to preventions, treatments and cures for retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases that affect more than 10 million Americans. Since 1971, the Foundation has raised more than $500 million as the leading non-governmental funder of retinal research. Breakthrough Foundation-funded studies using gene therapy have restored significant vision in children and young adults who were previously blind, paving the way for additional clinical trials to treat a variety of retinal degenerative diseases. With a coveted four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the Foundation also has nearly 50 chapters that provide support, information and resources to affected individuals and their families in communities across the country.

Original Date: 
Monday, April 8, 2013