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Rib Eye Round Up raises funds for Prevent Blindness Texas

1.8 from 6 votes
Friday, August 21, 2009

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Ben Williams and his mom Angela Williams were guests last night at the third annual Rib Eye Round Up, a fundraiser for Prevent Blindness Texas, a local organization that helps provide eye care for those who may not be able to afford it.

Ben Williams has a condition known as keratoconus, a degenerative disorder of the eye that will eventually result in the need for a corneal transplant in both eyes in order for Williams to be able to see.

The East Texas branch of Prevent Blindness Texas is in the process of getting eyeglasses for Williams, which will help buy him some time until he can get some contacts, that will also buy him time until he's able to get the corneal transplant.

Williams, who will enter his third semester at Angelina College this fall, said he can only see partially out of one eye.

"It's always been more about listening to teachers and in college since it's more lecture, it doesn't affect me too bad," Williams said. "The only place it really trips me up is in math."

Angela Williams said the program has been a big help.

"I didn't know what we were going to do until someone told me about the Prevent Blindness organization," Angela Williams said. "I contacted Angie Roper (executive director of the local branch) and she has helped us through the steps so far. It's an extremely rare condition but we are making plans to get through and eventually have the transplant, probably in the next year."

The East Texas branch covers a 32-county area and works with local eye doctors to donate free exams for people that can't afford eye care, Roper said.

Dr. Richard Ruckman, an optometrist at The Center For Sight in Lufkin, said the Rib Eye Round Up provides almost two-thirds of the funding for the program.

"This is the major fundraiser and a lot of work goes into putting this on," Ruckman said. "It's also a fun event and with the cook-off it makes it enjoyable for everyone to come out.

"The importance of it is that it provides the funding so we can coordinate with Prevent Blindness and give eye care services to those that don't have other means to get it."

Dr. Thomas Duncan, with East Texas Eye Associates, said the the main job of Prevent Blindness is to train screeners to go out to schools, businesses and charitable organizations to give eye exams.

Roper is hoping this year's fundraiser comes close to the $50,000 raised last year.

"This event has grown a lot and hopefully with our expenses down some from the last couple years, we'll be able to make about as much money," Roper said.

Copyright 2009 The Lufkin Daily News. All rights reserved.

Author: By Edwin Quarles
Source: The Lufkin Daily News
1.8 from 6 votes
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