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Making a Difference in the Lives of Others with Glaucoma

Born with poor vision, Carolyn Neerhof began life seeing with only one eye and then at the age of 36, she learned she had acute glaucoma.

Initially treated with eyedrops, Carolyn underwent numerous eye surgeries, which afforded her 25 years of reasonable vision and allowed her to continue her career as an elementary school teacher. Ultimately, however, both of Carolyn’s eyes were removed and replaced with prosthetic eyes.

Now 78, Carolyn lives an active and productive life despite being presented with significant challenges. To assist in her day-to-day activities, she uses adaptive aids, such as a scanner that audibly reads written materials. A past volunteer with the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), Carolyn now brings her life experience to her community by working with people with low vision. As a public speaker, she encourages those with glaucoma to adapt and change. “There is a lot of fear associated with vision loss and loss of independence,” explains Carolyn. “My key message is, ‘Don’t give up.’”

Learning the strides made in glaucoma research since her diagnosis in 1970, Carolyn has been a long-time supporter of GRF, valuing the Foundation’s commitment to improving the lives of glaucoma patients and funding innovative research to better understand the disease and ultimately find a cure. Most recently, Carolyn provided a charitable gift to GRF through her individual retirement account (IRA). Thomas M. Brunner, GRF President and CEO remarked: “We are most grateful to Ms. Neerhof for her years of financial support and her work on behalf of others living with glaucoma. She is a true inspiration.”

Through temporary legislation, donors aged 70½ and older are able to direct distributions from their IRAs until December 31, 2013 to charitable organizations without incurring income tax on the withdrawal.

To learn how to make a contribution to GRF through your IRA, please visit our website or call Nancy Graydon, Executive Director of Development, at 1-800-826-6693. All inquires are confidential and without obligation.

Last reviewed on September 16, 2013

This article appeared in the September 2013 issue of Gleams.

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