Who: The Foundation Fighting Blindness
What: Twin Cities Dining in the Dark
When: May 29, 2013
Where: Hilton Hotel, Minneapolis
Why: To bring awareness to the impact of sight loss, honor those conducting research in the field, and raise money for the national nonprofit organization, The Foundation Fighting Blindness.
Twin Citians came together to celebrate our state’s very own VIPs—not celebrities, but rather “visually impaired people.” Only the second annual event for the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ Twin Cities chapter, Dining in the Dark was a success. With more than 300 guests in attendance, $115,000 was raised (exceeding the $100,000 goal) to benefit the national nonprofit, and that was before the silent and live auctions.
The money raised will go toward researching a cure for retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and Stargardt, the visual impairment that Honorable Catherine Anderson suffers from. Anderson, along with Dr. Abdhish Bhavsar, were the two individuals presented with the foundation’s Visionary Award, which honors those making an impact in the fight against blindness.
Attendees also had the opportunity to experience sight loss first-hand. Donning light-blocking masks, guests were forced to use their heightened senses of smell, sound, taste, and touch to eat the entrée course of their meal. Perhaps the most memorable moment of the night, however, was when Louie McGee was interviewed by WCCO anchor Frank Vascellaro, the event’s master of ceremonies. The 12-year-old, also battling Stargardt disease, raised $40,000 for the foundation. For more information, visit blindness.org
Photos by Jessica M. Fleming