February 17, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Minneapolis Nonprofit Vision Loss Resources hosts Olympic Runner Who is Blind
Marla Runyan, winner of 2006 Twin Cities Marathon, helps commemorate Vision Loss Resources 100th Anniversary
Exclusive Photo & Interview Opportunity
Private event, not open to the public
WHAT: Vision Loss Resources 100 year kick-off lunch features Olympian who is blind.
Minnesota’s marquee organization supporting people who are living with vision loss brings world-class runner Marla Runyan to share her story. Legally blind since age 9, Runyan defied expectations and achieved unprecedented success through fierce determination – and with support from family and friends she competed in two Olympic Games, won gold in the Pan-Am Games, has held national and world records all while competing against elite sighted runners. Runyan is also a teacher of students who are blind and deafblind and recently joined the faculty of Perkins School for the Blind, the nation’s first school of its kind.
WHEN: Friday, February 21, 2014 – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: Vadnais Heights Commons
655 County Road F
Vadnais Heights, MN 55127
WHY: For Vision Loss Resources, the 100th Anniversary is more than just a milestone. The organization is taking the opportunity of its centennial to initiate a critical dialogue on a pressing issue –the dramatic expected increase in vision loss and what that means to our communities. The number of Americans with severe visual impairment is expected to double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050. As Americans live longer lives, age-related eye diseases become a major concern. “After the age of 65, we all have a 1 in 4 chance of developing significant vision loss, explains Kate Grathwol, Vision Loss Resources President/CEO. “Vision Loss Resources is uniquely positioned to meet the demands of our booming population.”.
For 100 years, Vision Loss Resources has been Minnesota’s leading provider of support, information, rehabilitation, and referral services for people adjusting to vision loss or blindness. “Our efforts on behalf of the visually impaired have made our community stronger and more powerful than might ever have been thought possible back at the turn of the century,” says Grathwol. Economic vitality and self-sufficiency have been fundamental to the work of Vision Loss Resources. Marla is a perfect speaker to help us kick-off our 100th. She is not only a great inspiration, but she represents our own model of teaching and empowering clients to pursue their goals – from learning to use the iPad, to test driving a race car,” says Grathwol.
There is a need to increase awareness about Vision Loss Resources services. Right now, the average time between someone receiving a low vision diagnosis and finding Vision Loss Resources is five years. “That is too long to live with the fear and frustrations of vision loss,” says Grathwol. “We need to get the word out.
Guest speaker Marla Runyan explains, “Chances are, if it’s not you who is going to have vision loss, someone in your family, or a close friend will. Those are the facts. We’re all interconnected and we become stronger as a community if we help and support one another. Support means more than just saying, ‘I know you can do it.’ Real support means saying, ‘I’ll help you do it, and I’ll show you how.’ One hundred years ago, the founders of Vision Loss Resources knew that. Today, they make it possible for people losing their eyesight to do more than adapt – they show them how to succeed. It’s what my mentors did for me, it’s what I strive to do for my students at Perkins, it’s why I am proud to be here celebrating with Vision Loss Resources.”
MORE on Vision Loss Resources
The mission of Vision Loss Resources is to create a community of services, skills and support for people with vision loss. With a century of experience and proven success, Vision Loss Resources forward thinking, client-driven approach to training, community and services have enabled the organization to continue to grow in new directions, nurturing and strengthening the lives of countless families and individuals. Assistance is available at low or no cost to people living in the seven county metropolitan area. All services are provided by dedicated professionals or trained volunteers. There is no time limit for services. For more information on Vision Loss Resources, visit: www.visionlossresources.org
MORE on Perkins School for the Blind
Perkins reaches more than 880,000 people each year as the premiere global provider of education resources for children who are visually impaired, their families and teachers in 67 countries. Perkins is celebrating its 185th year of providing education, services and products to people who are blind, deafblind, or visually impaired with other disabilities. Founded in 1829, Perkins works locally and globally reaching more than 880,000 people each year in 67 countries. Perkins helps to build productive and meaningful lives through its five divisions: School for the Blind, International, Library, eLearning, and Products. Learn more at www.Perkins.org.
Iris Key, Vision Loss Resources