“The short answer for increasing
my donation is, results.”
The pledge qualifies for The Gordon and
Llura Gund Family Challenge, in which the Gunds,
co-founders of FFB, match donations of $25,000 or
more. So Dan’s pledge is worth $200,000, all of it
going to retinal research. What follows is an excerpt
from an interview, in which, among other subjects,
Dan discusses the urgency behind his pledge. For
the full interview, visit www.blindness.org/Envision
How were you diagnosed with RP, and what effect
has it had on you?
I was tested in 1978, at age 25, because so many members
of my family had RP. I wasn’t yet showing symptoms,
and I’d served three years in the military and played varsity basketball in college. But the test was positive,
and I was likely to show symptoms sooner or later.
In 1980, I started to have problems driving. A
couple years later, playing basketball, I was not always
able to track the ball. One thing about me that’s
atypical in people with RP—rather than losing night
and peripheral vision, my central vision has been much
more affected. So I don’t need a cane to get around, but
I use many technological tools, like magnification and
screen readers, to do my work.
What bothers me most about RP was having to give
up basketball, which I did in my early thirties. I really
How did you get involved with FFB, and what
motivated you to increase your giving?
In 1990, after I’d given up driving and was on the path
to becoming legally blind, I wanted to join a cause
fighting these diseases. That led me to the Foundation, which had a chapter in Orlando involved with all
kinds of fundraising. I like to step into leadership roles,
so, eventually, I became chapter president and helped
launch FFB’s first 5K Vision Walk a decade ago. About
that time, I also became a trustee.
The short answer for increasing my donation is,
results. Twenty-five years ago, there were no clinical
trials for treatments. Now there are several, with more
on the way. But they’re much more expensive than basic
research. And the objective is to get positive results with
clinical trials, so that additional monies come from
companies involved in the field of medicine.
I started out giving maybe one or two thousand
dollars per year to FFB. I’m not married and don’t have
kids, so as I built up my financial means, I was able
to expand my level of giving. And I’ve been reassured
watching the results the Foundation has gotten. I’m
totally convinced that this is the pony to bet on.
It’s their way of emphasizing the urgency of funding
retinal research when the queue for testing treatments in
clinical trials is getting longer every year.
We’ve raised more than $13 million thus far, which,
with the Gunds’ match, means in excess of $26 million is
going straight to research. In this issue, you’ll meet two
donors who’ve met the challenge in different ways—
Dan Day (pg. 2), by increasing his annual giving; and
Deloris Adams (pg. 7), by making a gift of her house.
And in case you’re wondering how the Foundation’s
money has been spent in the past, a timeline of
retinal-research milestones over FFB’s 44-year history
(pg. 4-5) should offer perspective.
But let me get back to VISIONS. The Page 1
story gives a hint of what you’ll find at the
conference, along with a URL for more information—
www.blindness.org/visions. It also offers a Q&A with
someone who’s a retinal surgeon and recipient of an FFB
Career Development Award. Her name is Christine Kay,
and I encourage you to see what she’ll be doing at the
conference. Thank you, once again, for your continued
hard work and dedication. I look
forward to seeing you at