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Inspired by one of her star athletes, Alex, Field Hockey Coach Susan Burgess hosted a successful team fundraiser to support Glaucoma Research Foundation during National Glaucoma Awareness Month.
In 2010, Alex was a sophomore and an active member of the field hockey and softball teams at her high school in Rhode Island, having recently earned the title of Most Valuable Player as the field hockey team’s starting goal tender.
Alex was a passionate student and athlete on the road to success. One day, following a routine eye exam, it was determined that Alex would most likely require glasses due to some recent straining of her vision. Shortly after her appointment, one morning Alex’s mom noticed that Alex had what appeared to be a lazy eye, which prompted her to schedule a follow up eye appointment for her.
It was during this visit that Alex received the devastating news that she had glaucoma and complete loss of vision in her right eye. Following several vision tests with a variety of specialists, Alex learned more specifically that her diagnosis was that of juvenile open angle glaucoma.
The vision in her right eye was gone due to the damage of the optic nerve. There is no treatment method available to restore vision in Alex’s right eye now that it is lost and therefore the focus quickly turned to saving the vision in her left eye and maintaining balanced pressures in both eyes.
Due to multiple doctor visits and surgical procedures Alex was unable to return as an active participant on her field hockey team in her junior year. This news was especially hard for Alex to take, being such a committed and hardworking member of the field hockey team. It was during this hiatus from the team that Alex underwent four surgical procedures to sustain the vision in her left eye and was cleared in late May, 2012 to begin training for her senior year as goal tender on the team.
Remarkably enough, despite Alex’s intensive surgeries and considerable amount of time away from the team, she was able to come back as a full time member of the field hockey team, and joined them in what was their best season ever, ending with a history making 17-0-1 record. The team went on to win the Division II State Championship with Alex starting every game and never coming out of goal. She earned All Academic Team honors and All Tournament honors as well as an All Division honorable mention.
Alex is majoring in Elementary Education and Special Education at Rhode Island College. In November, 2014 she ran and was elected to serve on the Burrillville School Committee and is very much enjoying the experience of serving on the committee. Alex is also currently interning for a third consecutive summer at Fidelity Investments.
When asked about having glaucoma, Alex said: “I think about glaucoma every day, but try to live my life one day at a time focusing on all the positives”.
Glaucoma Research Foundation salutes Alex, her Coach and her entire community, and hopes that her story and positive outlook will inspire others going through their own personal battles with the disease.
Please contact us if you would like to host your own fundraiser to support Glaucoma Research Foundation’s research and education programs. Together, we can find a cure.
Last reviewed on January 20, 2016