Story guest-authored by Julia Bonnett.
I knew I was losing my sight.
During college, I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a disease that progressively narrows my field of vision and leads to permanent blindness.
But it was happening so slowly, I mostly put it out of my mind.
I love music, especially opera and musical theatre. It’s what I chose to do with my life. While singing with the Vancouver Opera, I had learned to disguise my limited and diminishing vision.
However, it became increasingly difficult for me to navigate the dark backstage passageways during performances. I worried about tripping over equipment, bumping into people or missing my entrances on stage.
And then one night, I tripped down the stairs at the side of the stage — and into the audience.
That got my attention! I couldn’t ignore my condition any longer — but I couldn’t change it either.
And after narrowly avoiding serious injury during an evening performance, I was forced to give it up entirely.
It was extremely stressful. I just couldn’t do it anymore.
While losing the opportunity to pursue one love, my husband and I had gained two others … our children Elio and Sofia, who are now 9 and 13 years old.
Of course, the minute you have children, you worry about what’s going to happen to them. As my vision decreases, I worry that I won’t be able to protect them and care for them properly.
And I worry that my children will also face a future without vision — there’s a 50 per cent chance they have inherited this blinding eye disease.
It’s the amazing research that’s happening today that gives me hope for myself and for my children. We’ve already come so far in our understanding. I believe that achieving the goal of restored sight is just around the corner.
Through your support of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, you help fund the work of amazing researchers such as Dr. David Picketts. He’s studying inner retinal neurons that promote communication between photoreceptors in the retina — a process that’s disrupted in people with eye disease.
The more we learn about the eye, the sooner sight will be restored. I’m grateful for Canadians like you who have raised more than $31 million in research funding that has resulted in more than 700 new discoveries in areas such as stem-cell research and gene therapies.
It’s generous donors like you that give me hope for the future. Your gifts are critical to researchers like Dr. Picketts, who is making exciting progress in research that has the potential to restore vision.
Your gift by December 31st will also be matched and double in impact!
Your donation today could be the one that helps fund a breakthrough that will restore my sight — and the sight of thousands of others with RP.
Every day there are people working to find the cure that will prevent — and even reverse — vision loss.
And when we finally arrive at the place where my sight can be restored, it will seem like a miracle to me. Yet, it would be the fruit of decades of research funded by generous, compassionate donors like you.
Please donate today to DOUBLE the impact of your gift, up to $50,000!
Together we can make it happen!
That’s what gives me hope as a mom. The hope of looking forward to when I can see my children’s faces and maybe even my grandchildren.