How can I describe the feeling of being in a room surrounded by 95 people who care and support you? Can I tell you how I feel like I am floating from success?

My family and I held ‘Dinner in the Dark’, a unique dining experience where you enjoy all three courses completely blindfolded. As friends and  family arrived they were blindfolded at the door. Friends from the Arizona Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired greeted and assisted them to their seats. We  described where their water was, their fork and spoon. Some screamed across the room as they searched for others that they knew – which I totally appreciated since that’s what I do! “Who is out there?!” is pretty normal!

fam-at-dinner

My friends and family enjoyed salad (which is so hard to eat blind), pasta & chicken Parmesan, and of course…cheesecake at Maggiano’s.  I walked around to each table and thanked them for coming. It was amazing to “see” them totally get it. You know, like they took the challenge of dining in the dark and sincerely tried to put themselves in my shoes and see a whole new perspective. I laughed as so many shared their struggles like, where is the butter? Do I have anything left on my plate? Or sorry I just put my hands in your pasta bowl…yeah, I TOTALLY understand that.

We raised $8,000 which will go towards research to finding a cure, what triggers LHON and how can we prevent this from happening to others with the gene. We aren’t stopping there…I have sent a few letters to companies to see if they will match?? Never hurts to ask, right?

me-and-melissa--dinner

As with all fund-raisers, we are there to raise money, but this one was different; we raised money AND awareness. I wanted my friends to walk away from Dinner in the Dark with a new experience they will share and remember as I did when I attended my first Dinner in the Dark…and I think they did.

At one point, I stood in the middle of the room with tears of happiness. I was so proud of this event, the people that came together to support me, and the sound of them laughing knowing they were having a great time. Does it get any better?

With this being a complete success, I am already thinking of next year’s…wouldn’t live music be cool?

SISTAS

Reunited…and it feels so good! Two of my LHON sistas came thousands of miles to share, support and join in on the Dinner in the Dark experience. It was so great to see Maria and Chris again! We had a wonderful brunch together with our families and were able to pick up our conversation right where we left off…

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Jessica
http://blindgirlscanrockheels.com
At age 27, I went blind from a rare genetic eye disease - Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. I am here to share my stories of how it is to get hit with a disability and how nothing should ever stop you from what you want to do.

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