BENEFITING: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
EVENT DATE: Oct 19, 2014
Can you imagine losing your vision?
Slowly losing your ability to see the world around you and living with the fear that you may eventually be completely blind? I woke up one day to this very frightening reality.
At the age of 17, I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a rare degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment and blindness. As an active teenager, with a passion for tennis, this was a devastating diagnosis.
Seeking the best care for me, my mother took me to every doctor she could find. Her search eventually led me to Mass. Eye and Ear in Boston, a Harvard teaching hospital and a leader in eye research. It was there where we met Dr. Eric Pierce who leads a world-renowned Ocular Genomics Institute at Mass. Eye and Ear where they are working hard to find cures for blinding conditions like mine. We left that visit in Boston with hope for the future – something we had not found anywhere else.
Today, I am about to enter my junior year as a communications major at the University of Texas in Tyler. I continue to work closely with Dr. Pierce and his team at Mass. Eye and Ear. My vision is declining, as is typical with RP, however, I am doing everything I can to remain positive. I have tremendous confidence in the doctors at Mass. Eye and Ear – and I know that in time, there will be a treatment for me.
Several years ago, I gave a blood sample to Dr. Pierce with hopes that he could identify the precise gene causing my vision loss. Dr. Pierce was able to do just that – he identified my defective gene. That was step one! The next step is to replace this bad gene or repair it so that my sight can be saved and lost sight restored. This process is called Gene Therapy and it offers tremendous hope and promise to millions of people, like me, going blind from retinal disease.
We can make a difference. Together, we can raise awareness and raise funds to speed up the research and help develop gene therapy treatments faster. Every year, people like me lose more vision. For some, the light is fully extinguished. The sooner the cures come, the sooner our sight can be saved.
To help in the fight against blindness, my family and I have established the Candyce Lane Henwood Gene Therapy Research Fund at Mass. Eye and Ear. We hope to raise $100,000 to help the doctors and scientists develop gene therapy treatments for inherited retinal diseases, like mine.
Please consider making a gift in support of this important research.
On October 19, 2014 at 3pm, we will host “Simply for Sight” a fundraiser at Lindenau Hall in Cuero, Texas, with all proceeds to go to the this new Fund.
Questions? Contact Lane.Sherri@ymail.com