Each year, World Sight Day is held on the second Thursday of October, and this year, Combat Blindness International, headquartered in Madison, celebrated the day by hosting a gala Oct. 3 at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery on the University of Wisconsin Madison campus.
The World Sight Day celebration saw 145 guests coming together to help CBI's mission to fight and prevent global blindness. The celebration was comprised of a number of cultural experiences and information, and included a silent auction with an array of international and local items.
The silent auction helped spread the hand-made work of people around the globe, raising close to $4000. In addition, guests dined on ethnic foods from the places CBI works in, including North and South America, India, Africa and the Middle East.
The entertainment for the evening was blind sailor Scott Duncan, who was part of the first two-person blind team to sail across the Pacific Ocean. He shared stories of his travels and experiences of being blind in different countries.
Stories ranged from blind children having to beg on the streets because school was not available in Mexico to being able to unite blind organizations and sailing organizations to teach blind children to sail in Australia.
This was CBI's eighth year successfully celebrating and fundraising for World Sight Day in Madison, and raised $40,582 for CBI to continue their global work.
The donations generated from World Sight Day will support CBI's free eye care clinics and cataract surgeries, as well as fund CBI scholarships to train local community members to keep high quality health care in the areas that need it most.
The amount raised could provide 2029 free cataract surgeries, fund one year of schooling for 41 local vision technicians or provide gas for 81 trips to transport people to clinics and hospitals to get the care they so desperately need.
To add to the event, the $15,000 matching grant from Madison's local Johnson Foundation was reached.
Regarding this year's event and CBI's work, Dr. Suresh, Indian American founder of CBI, stated, "The support at Word Sight Day was truly remarkable; we are able to continue our work in the fight against blindness because of this strong community."
For more information, visit www.combatblindness.org.