Letter from Helen Harris
November 1, 2013
RE: “Eyes of Christmas” International Television Special
Another dozen calls today. There seem to be more and more and I find myself talking to hopeless people who have been sent home and told, “You are going blind.” Never has RP International needed your help more. I know that the bionic eye and the computer chip implant restored the eyesight of a few initial patients and yet we have our own children and adults not even knowing that the permanent diagnosis of blindness soon can be reversed.
A few years ago, I sent out a copy of an obituary of a young man who took his life because he had RP, leaving behind a younger brother who found him. They were very close and I was close to them. When their older brother called me I felt as if he was one of my own family. I feel this way now about all of these people, because I have been and I am still in the same place as they are. The difference is I’m fighting for my kids and for these kids.
Please help me to help them. Please help me to let them know that the computer chip implant has restored sight, that it is not hopeless, and if they can hang on long enough, it will be available for all of us. We have drug therapies right now working on some people who were surely going blind. So many things have happened in our work since the day 40 years ago when the medical community told me, “Helen, give it up. There will never be a cure, never be a way, no hope, and there will be no others like you and your family.” I have found ten to thirty million people with degenerative blindness in different stages now. Macular degeneration is now epidemic. Some of the people, small children, receiving the drug recently discovered, would not go blind, because the drugh keeps the desease from progressing.
How do we stop the suicides and depression caused by the terror or waking up one morning without eyesight? It’s easy. We must keep pushing this research and letting people know there really is hope, not to give up, not now when we are so very close. It’s the end of the year, and fund-raising has dropped considerably. So I’m asking you to give the largest donation you can possilbly make so that I can be your vehicle to these people who count on us to do what they cannot.
We have the power, the cure, and we now need only the funding. Please let me know you will help this year. We can stop the blindness, and we surely can pierce the darkness right now.