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Visually impaired people unite at 6th Annual Jacksonville 5K VisionWalk

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Hundreds of visually impaired people and their supporters will band together at the Jacksonville VisionWalk on April 26 at UNF to fight blindness.

Participants hope to raise at least $100,000 to support promising sight-saving and sight-restoring research for people with retinal degenerative diseases such as macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and Usher syndrome. Diseases like these affect more than 10 million Americans, including dozens of people in Jacksonville.

“Our family participates in the VisionWalk to raise funds for the Foundation Fighting Blindness,” says VisionWalker Angie Johnson, of Jacksonville, who has two daughters that have been diagnosed with a rare retinal degenerative disease. “[My daughters] understand the importance of contributing to an organization that supports critical research needed to work toward a cure for their disease and so many others. Keeping consistent with our VisionWalk team name [Team Optimistic], we truly are optimistic about the girls’ visual futures.”

Angie Johnson is the mother of two girls affected by Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), an inherited retinal degenerative disease characterized by severe loss at a young age. Angie’s daughters, Emma and Haley, were both diagnosed at age 4 and are now legally blind. Despite the challenges of low vision, Emma and Haley function well in school, and they also enjoy riding bikes, though these tasks are not without their difficulties. Angie’s VisionWalk team, Team Optimistic, set a fundraising goal of $13,000 and has already surpassed that goal, thanks in large part to significant contributions from Angie’s employer, CSX. Events like VisionWalk give Angie’s family hope for the future.

Hundreds of walkers, many of whom are visually impaired, are expected at the free, family-friendly VisionWalk, which also includes children’s activities, a bounce house, refreshments, entertainment, and more. Event leaders include Walk Chair Megan Mauney, Youth Chair Brendon Cavainolo, Medical Chair Sandeep Grover, M.D, and Media Chair Adriann Keve. Sponsors include CSX and MOMS for Sight.

VisionWalk is the national signature fundraising event for the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Since its inception in 2006, tens of thousands have participated in events across the country to raise more than $30 million for blindness research, according to the VisionWalk website.

Event details:

WHAT: Jacksonville VisionWalk, Benefiting the Foundation Fighting Blindness

WHEN: Saturday, April 26th, 2014
Registration: 8 a.m. | Walk Starts: 9 a.m.

WHERE: University of North Florida
1 UNF Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32224

CONTACT: Kim Marlow, Director - Events, kmarlow@fightblindness.org, 954-496-0776

For more information about the Jacksonville VIsionWalk, please visit their website.

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