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francois

Peter D’Elia: Update

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Peter D’Elia, 95, now lives with his wife of thirty-plus years, Peggy, in Massachusetts. Peter continues to draw and work as an architect, as well as golf with his longtime friends.

After first hearing about his macular degeneration, Peter was in disbelief, remembering immediately blurting out, “are you kidding me”, after his doctor told him the news.

Peter only wishes he could have seen Going Blind when he was first aware of his illness as he considers the film to be encouraging for people who are going through similar issues like he has and lauds the project for showing how much help is available.

Feeling extremely lucky to love what he does for a living, Peter remains stubborn about ever stopping to challenge himself, and has consistently taken what comes his way with an unquestionably positive, willing attitude. This attitude, Peter claims, is one of the main reasons he was able to persevere and preserve a life filled with his passion, and he continues to pass down these values to his grandchildren. Peter’s next stop is going to New Jersey to celebrate his birthday with his friends, and then visiting his family in Newport to play golf.

Ray Kornman: Update

By | Ray Kornman, Updates | No Comments

From Ray Kornman, August 2017

Since my appearance in the Going Blind movie, my life has had some dramatic changes.

Shortly after the release of the film, my employment and the employment of several of my associates was terminated at The Seeing Eye. I filed suit against the organization for sexual orientation discrimination.

After two years of depositions, The Seeing Eye settled with me outside of court.

I then relocated to the Richmond, Virginia area to be near my brother and my parents. Both of my parents passed away from cancer within the past two years.

Although my transition to the south was or originally planned to be temporary, I have seemed to make some permanent roots here. I fell in love, I have created some new relationships, and rekindled some old ones with family members. For the first two years in Virginia, I worked from home during customer service for tax preparation company.

Since then I’ve become a student working towards a degree in social work and psychology.

Jessica Jones: Update

By | Jessica Jones, Updates | No Comments

Jessica Jones has been teaching art at Lavelle School for the Blind in the Bronx for the past eleven years. As the only blind teacher, Jessica continues to thrive in the school community and serves as a strong role model for her visually impaired students. Jessica loves to see parents experience their children surpassing expectations in the classroom. She puts faith in her students and has high hopes that each will graduate by the age of twenty-one and continue on to college.

In 2016, the Lavelle School’s administration approved and supported Jessica’s pitch to hold an art exhibition of her students’ work. The second annual Vision of Art show took place in April of 2017, receiving attention from the Bronx Times it was an inspiration to the whole community, including the parents and students who realized accomplishments through Jessica’s guidance.

The Going Blind film offers hope to those dealing with vision loss and Jessica only wishes that this film had existed when she was first losing her sight. She wants parents of blind children to learn from the film, as well, and from her personal story as it offers a teacher’s perspective into this world.

People still recognize Jessica from Going Blind, they remember her story and oftentimes approach her on the street to share their own stories with her. Jessica hopes people will continue to reach out to blind people on the street to connect, to share, and to offer help.

Although her seeing-eye dog in Going Blind, Chef, has since passed away Jessica now entrusts her new dog, Willy. Jessica credits Chef with teaching her how to become more aware of her surroundings and values the companionship and security that guide dogs offer those who are blind.

At the same time that Jessica wants people to be inspired by her story she also wants people to understand that losing one’s vision is difficult and can be very scary. However, she prefers that people refrain from calling blindness a disability – according to Jessica, blindness shouldn’t hold anyone back from realizing their dreams and living a full life, just like she does.  She’s proud of her perseverance but wants it to be understood that she was “utterly terrified but would not let that hold [her] back.”

Visit Jessica’s website at: https://jessikajonz.wordpress.com/

Stanford Medical Visionary Sight Solutions

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Though Emery Olcott can no longer see words on a page or faces in front of him, he can still take pleasure in a game of golf. Legally blind, Olcott can’t drive a car, but occasionally he’ll pilot a golf cart on the course. And he can distinguish contrasts of light and color, like a small, yellow ball on an expanse of green.

Full Article

Diseases Spotlight: Raising the Bar for Healthcare Collaboration

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Diseases Spotlight is new a digital platform created with the goal of bringing together a range of voices and material that is focused on the patient perspective. This month, the spotlight is on Glaucoma. Joe was interviewed about his personal history with Glaucoma, creating Going Blind: Coming Out of the Dark About Vision Loss and the widely successful outreach campaign.

 

Rollins College to Show Going Blind for World Sight Day

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Rollins University in Florida will be using Going Blind to bring awareness to students on World Sight Day, October 8th. Grace Moskola, the Director of Disability Services at Rollins College, was using Going Blind in her previous role at the University of Central Florida and decided to bring it to the students and faculty at Rollins. “I found the documentary to be highly impactful, and I believe that it helps educate others about issues of vision loss and health in a very personal way,” Grace says. Stay tuned for updates on the impact of the screening on the student audience on World Sight Day. 

Going Blind Licensed by College Television network Peralta TV

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College television network Peralta TV has obtained screening rights to showcase Going Blind to students, teachers and community members. The Peralta network is made up of four colleges – College of Alameda, Laney College & Merritt College in Oakland and Berkeley City College, providing classes to more then 60,000 local and international students every year. The channel can be accessed on cable channel 27 in Alameda and Berkeley, and on cable channel 28 in Emeryville, Oakland, Piedmont and on Alameda Power & Telecom cable in Alameda and is also on AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.

For program scheduling, click here, and keep the Going Blind Facebook page for announcements on when it will air. If your college television station would like to know more about airing Going Blind, contact mike@Lovettproductions.com.

JCAHPO Webinar Series Now Online!

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In late 2013, the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel (JCAHPO) hosted a webinar series on the Going Blind and Going Forward Outreach Campaign called “Going Blind and Going Forward: Pearls and Resources for the Eye Care Team.” The series included three webinars on blind and low vision rehabilitation tools and resources. Joe presented in Part 2, Going Blind and Going Forward: A Patient’s Perspective on Vision Loss, his session brought in over 500 attendees.

JCAHPO and the Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation have now made these courses available to the general public as free resources! Click the link below to be taken to the entire 3 part webinar series and a “Focus on the Patient” guidebook, provided by Stuart Carduner at Lovett Stories and Strategies.

Going Blind and Going Forward

JCAHPO’s membership is comprised of ophthalmic allied health personnel including assistants, technicians, and medical technologists. At their 2012 annual convention, Joe provided the keynote address to a sold out audience of over 600 attendees. Since then we have developed a relationship with the organization, which is eager to train their members in patient education and empowerment.

Learning about blindness: a personal perspective by Raul Lovett

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Our eyes are truly wondrous products of evolution. Through my work at Lovett Stories + Strategies I’ve learned a great deal more about blindness and vision than I ever thought I would. It was eye-opening (no pun intended) to learn so much about blindness and low vision. For me, this experience was very personal as Joe Lovett is my great-Uncle. Joe suffers from glaucoma, which we now know is hereditary, meaning that I am at risk as well.

One of the most important concepts I was (and most others are) unaware of is that our vision exists on a spectrum, with perfect vision at one end, and complete blindness at the other. For the vast majority of people however, their vision sits somewhere along this spectrum. Especially for the “blind” the biggest misconception is that they cannot see at all; they only see total darkness, and this is not the case. Most people who are legally blind have some degree of residual vision, which might enable them to see light or shapes.

Through watching Going Blind, one of the most interesting things I learned was that our vision is 80% memory, and 20% what we see in real time. This is the main reason why so many people who have glaucoma or similar eye diseases don’t notice the holes in their vision, because their brain fills in the rest from memory. Joe experienced this firsthand, which he discusses in the film. A helpful tool called an Amsler grid is available to help one notice any holes in one’s vision between doctor’s visits. This is one reason why regular eye check-ups are necessary.

In regard to vision care and aid, I was totally unaware of the area of visual therapy called low vision therapy. Low vision refers to when one’s vision cannot be corrected to 100% even using the best corrective lenses possible. Low vision therapy utilizes aids to help people with low vision function at the highest level possible. Many tools are available, ranging from monocular telescopes to stickers with large font for one’s keyboard. While it may seem normal for me as a sighted individual to be ignorant of low vision therapy, it is fairly shocking that the vast majority of those afflicted with low vision or blindness are completely unaware of the services and aids available to them. This is an issue that Joe is attempting to ameliorate through screenings and broadcasts of Going Blind, and the outreach, Going Blind and Going Forward

I could go on and on about all of the different aspects of vision and blindness that I learned at Lovett Stories + Strategies, but there are too many to write here! Working here has truly been a learning experience, and I invite everyone reading to watch Going Blind and to get involved with the outreach.

New York State House Screening: The First Of Many

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On Tuesday April 30th Going Blind: Coming out of the Dark About Vision Loss premiered at the New York State House in Albany in room 104A of the Legislative Office Building to a room full of legislators, health professionals, advocates and staff. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee and Senator Kemp Hannon, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Healthco-hosted the event. First the audience mingled at a reception for the event and met with Joe Lovett, director of the film, and Julie Gayin, Outreach Coordinator, where they could learn more about the outreach for Going Blind and the work that has been done so far. Next Joe Lovett and Assemblyman Gottfried gave special introductions for the opening remarks.

After the audience witnessed an abridged screening of Going Blind, an expert panel discussed the film and the politics of vision care, and fielded audience questions. The panel consisted of:

Joseph Lovett: Director of Going Blind: Coming out of the Dark About Vision Loss

Pat Williams: Program Support Assistant at the NY Veteran’s Administration Medical Center and a character in Going Blind

John Farina: Assistive Technology Instructor

Leah Pagnozzi: Graduate Student and Researcher, Cornell University, Biomedical Engineering Department

Dr. Albert Morier: M.A., O.D.

Dr. Paul Beer: MD, of Retina Consultants

A live Twitter feed of the event was provided by Raul Lovett and Julie Gaynin and can be viewed at https://twitter.com/GoingBlindMovie under the date April 30

For more photographs of the event please visit the Going Blind Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GoingBlindMovie/photos_stream

A special thanks goes out to: The offices of Richard Gottfried and Kemp Hannon, and all of our panelists.

Additional thanks to: Reader’s Digest Partner’s for Sight Foundation, Pfizer Ophthalmics, Allergan Foundation, National Eye Institute, Gibney Family Foundation, Allene Reuss Memorial Trust, Bloomberg Foundation. The Frank DeCoizart Charitable Trust, The Rudin Family Foundations, The Olcott Family Foundation, American Council of the Blind of New York, Linda Dawes, Ed Harris, Chris Burke, and Nancy Miller.