St. Louis Dining in the Dark Opens Guests' Eyes to Challenges of the Visually Impaired

Foundation Fighting Blindness Hosts Dining in the Dark to Open Guests’ Eyes to Challenges of the Visually Impaired, Benefit Sight-Saving Research


St. Louis Blues’ Chairman Tom Stillman and Rams’ Star Steven Jackson To Be Honored

St. Louis, MO (January 31, 2013) — The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a national nonprofit focused on sight-saving research, will present its Visionary Award to Tom Stillman, Chairman of the St. Louis Blues and Chairman and CEO of Summit Distributing, and Steven Jackson, All-Pro Running Back for the St. Louis Rams, at the 4th Annual St. Louis Dining in the Dark. The event, happening at 6 p.m. on Wednesday , April 3, at The Ritz-Carlton St. Louis, will give guests a unique glimpse into the lives of the visually impaired. It will also benefit the Foundation’s research into preventions, treatments and cures for blinding retinal degenerative diseases like macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa that affect more than 10 million Americans, young and old.

Dining in the Dark is a distinctive sensory awareness experience in which guests participate in an unforgettable dining adventure, in complete darkness. To get first-hand insight into the challenges of the blind community, diners will wear special light-blocking masks and eat their entrée using only their heightened senses of smell, sound, taste and touch. Created in Germany, Dining in the Dark is a one-of-a kind concept that has been enjoyed by many people across Europe before moving to America in 2005.

“Reactions to Dining in the Dark are truly powerful because people often don’t realize the daily obstacles of living with low to no vision,” says Chesterfield resident Bob Morris, who is chairing the event with his wife Jill. They became involved with the Foundation in 2009 shortly after their grandson Jack was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a genetic disease characterized by night blindness and a progressive loss of peripheral vision. “We’re thrilled to recognize the accomplishments of Tom Stillman and Steven Jackson, two well-respected members of the St. Louis sports community, as we come together to support cutting-edge research that could save and restore vision for millions.”

Serving as Honorary Chair is Foundation National Trustee John Mozeliak, vice president and general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, who has been involved with the St. Louis Dining in the Dark since 2010. St. Louis Blues radio play-by-play announcer Chris Kerber will entertain the crowd as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.

The Foundation will honor Tom Stillman, a visionary in the sports world through the St. Louis Blues, and on the business scene as the leader of a St. Louis-based beer distributor. He also serves on the board of the St. Louis Blues 14 Fund, whose mission is to improve the health and wellness of St. Louis area youth, and the Nature Conservancy in Missouri, one of the state's leading conservation organizations.

A leader on and off the field, Visionary Award Honoree Steven Jackson is a star running back for the St. Louis Rams and a community activist, working with the NFL's childhood health program, NFL Play 60. He also founded The Steven Jackson Foundation, which recently partnered with The Little Bit Foundation, a group that works with local schools to create better learning environments for children in need.

Individual tickets for Dining in the Dark are $250 and sponsorships begin at $2,500. For ticket and sponsorship information, contact Maria Donile at MDonile@FightBlindness.org or (847) 680-0100, or visit www.FightBlindness.org/DiningInTheDark. To request media credentials for Dining in the Dark, or to coordinate an interview with an event spokesperson, contact Allie Gebhardt at 410-423-0643 or AGebhardt@FightBlindness.org.

What:

St. Louis Dining in the Dark, benefitting the Foundation Fighting Blindness

Where:

The Ritz-Carlton St. Louis
100 Carondelet Plaza

When:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

6-7 p.m. Reception
7-9 p.m. Visionary Award Program & Dining in the Dark

About Foundation Fighting Blindness

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is a Columbia, Maryland-based 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 over $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, and proving a cure is in sight. With a network of nearly 50 chapters, the Foundation also provides support, information and resources to affected individuals and their families in communities across the country.

Original Date: 
Thursday, January 31, 2013