Karen Jackson, For The Baltimore Sun
May 28, 2013
LuAnn Blackman and Jay Blackman
Organizers of a party designed to raise money for research into vision-robbing diseases decided to hold it at a venue with an amazing view in order to highlight their mission.
"For those of us who are fortunate enough to have our vision, this is to raise awareness," said Jay Blackman, who co-chaired the Baltimore Visionary Awards Dinner at the Center Club with his wife, LuAnn Blackman.
"It's one of the best views in Baltimore," said Bill Schmidt, CEO of Foundation Fighting Blindness, the nonprofit beneficiary of the evening. "Unfortunately, a lot of the people we're working on behalf of can't enjoy these kinds of vistas."
Helping in that mission were the evening's honorees, Janet and Frank Kelly, for whom the cause was personal. Janet Kelly, her son and grandson all suffer from a congenital form of macular degeneration.
"That's what [the foundation is] all about -- finding cures for retinal diseases," said Frank Kelly.
"Needless to say, anything we can do to enhance the research money, anything they can do to finding cures -- and they're getting close -- we're pretty excited [about]," said Janet Kelly.
Sharing that emotion was Dr. Morton Goldberg, honorary co-chair and Johns Hopkins Hospital's Wilmer Eye Institute director emeritus.
"There are now some cures for some forms of inherited retinal degeneration," he said. "It's a tremendously exciting time. Things are getting better and better every six to twelve months."
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