San Diego Couple Jill and Evan Stone To Be Honored at San Diego Dining in the Dark

San Diego Couple Jill and Evan Stone To Be Honored; Salk Institute President Dr. William Brody To Keynote


San Diego, CA (March 14, 2013) — The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a national nonprofit focused on vision-saving research, will honor Del Mar residents Jill and Evan Stone with its Visionary Award at the 5th Annual San Diego Dining in the Dark. The unique fundraiser, taking place Wednesday, May 22, at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla, will give diners a first-hand glimpse into the lives of the blind by challenging guests to eat their entrée in complete blackness. The evening’s keynote speaker will be Dr. William R. Brody, President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and an acclaimed physician-scientist, entrepreneur and former leader of The Johns Hopkins University. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ sight-saving research efforts toward preventions, treatments and cures for retinal diseases including retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration and Usher syndrome.

The unforgettable Dining in the Dark awareness experience will last approximately 30 minutes, while visually impaired servers, trained especially for the event, share their stories and use a system of ropes and stanchions to help guests navigate this new culinary journey of heightened 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, I think, because people often don’t realize the daily obstacles of living with low to no vision,” says Jill Stone. “As cutting-edge gene therapy and stem cell research progresses in clinical trials that are already restoring some vision in patients, we’re so hopeful that treatments and cures are in sight.”

Foundation Fighting Blindness national trustees Jill and Evan Stone are passionate San Diego chapter members who have championed past successful Visionary Awards dinners and Blind Wine events to raise over a million dollars for blindness research since they became involved a decade ago. In 2012, they were recognized with the Foundation’s Volunteer of the Year Award for their outstanding efforts to drive sight-saving research and awareness. The Stones are motivated in this fight because their two grown children, Adam and Liz, are affected with Usher syndrome, a genetic disease that robs hearing early in life, followed by progressive sight loss. Diagnosed as teenagers in 1993, the Stone children have excelled despite the challenges of Usher syndrome. Liz earned her master’s degree in public administration and works as the Major Gifts Officer at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C., and Adam is currently working on his Ph.D. at Gallaudet University.  Evan Stone is also well known in San Diego’s legal community, as Senior Vice President of Legal Services and General Counsel at Pacific Medical Buildings, LLC. Also active in the local Jewish community, Jill Stone is a past board member of San Diego’s Jewish Family Service organization.

Keynote speaker Dr. Brody is a national figure in efforts to encourage and strengthen the U.S. economy through investments in basic research and education. Renowned for his achievements in biomedical engineering, Dr. Brody has over 100 publications and two U.S. patents in the field of medical imaging and has made contributions in medical acoustics, computed tomography, digital radiography and magnetic resonance imaging. As the holder of the Irwin M. Jacobs Presidential Chair at the Salk Institute, Dr. Brody oversees a dream team of 55 of the world’s most outstanding biomedical scientists, including a renowned program in vision research. Work of these Salk scientists are uncovering how the retina receives and processes images and they are using that knowledge to develop next generation retinal prostheses.

Serving as San Diego Dining in the Dark Honorary Co-Chairs are Loni and Jeff Rush, chairman of Pacific Medical Buildings; Alice and Mark Toothacre, President of Pacific Medical Buildings; Beth Powell, CFO of Pacific Medical Buildings; Lynn Adams, a retired LPGA champion; and long-time friends and Foundation supporters Candice and Robert Fagan, and Deborah and Dr. Michael Lobatz.

Individual tickets for Dining in the Dark are $300 and sponsorships begin at $1,000. For ticket and sponsorship information, contact Cheyanne Sauter at CSauter@FightBlindness.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or (310) 207-2089, or visit 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



San Diego Dining in the Dark


Hyatt Regency La Jolla
3777 La Jolla Village Drive
San Diego, CA 92122


Wednesday, May 22, 2013
5:30-7 p.m. Reception & Silent Auction
7-9 p.m. Visionary Award Program & Dining in the Dark


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: 
Thursday, March 14, 2013