Grand Rapids Family raised $4.5m for University of Iowa’s Eye Institute
It is always a beautiful initiative when you can turn a not-so-great situation into something that helps others.
This Grand Rapids family did just that.
At 19 years old, Sam Walker received a diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa. Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare genetic eye disorder that develops loss of vision.
After the bleak diagnosis, the Walker family did not allow themselves to give up. The family ended up traveling to the University of Iowa Institute for Vision Research.
This institute strives to find affordable treatments for inherited eye diseases.
Through the support that the Walkers received at the University of Iowa Institute for Vision Research, they organized an annual golf event and dinner in Grand Rapids called 'Sam's Scramble for Sight'.
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Now after 10 years, 'Sam's Scramble for Sight' has raised $4.5 million for UI Institute for Vision Research.
Sue responded on Facebook saying:
"I truly hope your son is doing well!!! MANY of 'us' DEPEND on the "eye clinic" at the U.of.I.. THANK goodness for that DEPARTMENT. Dr. Han AND HIS WHOLE STAFF - THANK YOU!!"
Julie had a similar response to this thoughtful donation:
"My son and my brother also have RP and they both have gone to see Dr. Stone at the University of Iowa. Thank you to this family for raising so much money to find a cure!"
Because of the help he received at UI Institute for Vision Research, Sam is a newlywed who works in Milian, Itay as an auditor.
Sam's father, Brian commented on how important the Institute is for the world.
"I'm not even sure how many alumni know what a big deal [the Institute] is. Whenever I run into a Hawkeye somewhere, I tell them, 'You went to a university that's going to change the world.'"