Blind Ambition

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I want to Talk about blindness, ambition, the Foundation Fighting Blindness and the Braille Institute. I want to talk about Mary Jo Brown and her husband Jerry who support helping the blind, and about Adam Lawrence, who is blind, and his pal Marci Siegel who support research to end blindness. An ambitious conversation…

Adam and Marci’s Fanciful and Free Fundraiser

From l, Mary Jo and Jerry Brown, good people who care about good causes, especially the Braille Institute.

September 25: Save this date and maybe win a trip to New York, plus a lot of other amazingly fine stuff! This is a heads-up for a sweet (with cup cakes!) party to raise funds for the Foundation Fighting Blindness Vision 5K Walk and to promote awareness for an illness near and dear to Marci Siegel’s heart; her mother is affected by the eye disease, Macular Degeneration. It so happens that her next-door neighbor, Adam Lawrence, is blind from the eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa, (“RP”). So these good hearted, ambitious neighbors, will host a (no charge to attend) fund-raiser on September 25 from 2 to 5 p.m. It will be an afternoon of wine and cupcakes, many rare silent auction items and a spectacular raffle prize for a trip for two to New York City (including plane, hotel, restaurant, etc). The event location: Co-Op 28 Handmade at 1728 North Vermont Ave., a fun and close-by community to visit.

This party/fundraiser is two peoples’ stand-up effort to find a cure for blindness. They hope that together they can help bring sight to all those who live in darkness.

Adam Lawrence, my handsome and freewheeling stepson, is a volunteer for the Foundation Fighting Blindness and is this year’s Chair for VisionWalk LA (on October 23, save that date too and join our team!). When Marci met Adam and learned about FFB’s goal to assist researchers in treating and curing eye diseases, she knew she had to get involved. So she did!

You get involved too! Have a little family fun, cupcakes and wine, shop and play silent auction and raffle, besides a New York getaway; Bob Mackie donated show biz goodies and wearable treasures. For info: call Marci at (323) 669-2828 or Adam at (818) 368-4707.

Good People: Mary Jo and Jerry Brown

Katherine’s Legacy: Speaking of Silent Auctions, it was my pleasure to be won by the very dear Mary Jo Brown at the Actors and Others for Animals silent auction. We went to lunch and I learned about Mary’s mother, Katherine Krupa, who suffered from the effects of macular degeneration and had a very difficult and depressing time when she lost her vision. A visit to the Braille Institute, an organization of hope and empowerment, changed her mindset quickly and she became determined to live a full life and continue doing things she enjoyed. She returned to her piano via their adaptive piano classes. “My mother enjoyed the books on tape as well,” remembered Mary Jo, “the Braille Institute’s Library helped her stay connected to that aspect of her life.” When Katherine passed away a few years ago, she left the Braille Institute her Closed-Circuit TV and vast collection of large print sheet music. This inspired Mary Jo and Jerry to name the Braille Institute as a beneficiary in their will. Just remembering the marked changes and all the great things Katherine had said abut the organization and the staff made the Browns want to ensure that future generations of people experiencing sight loss would have access to the same quality of programs and services.

It’s heartening to know that people like Mary Jo and Jerry are in our universe. They turned gratitude into responsible consideration. Planned Giving is so respectable and so is Mary Jo Brown, it was my pleasure to become her friend. And hopefully her story will inform someone who needs the Braille Institute’s services that they are there and waiting. And thanks to Mary Jo for caring about animals too. We’ll Talk…

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