Purchase your Santa Dollars today

Spreading Hope and Cheer

We are excited to launch our holiday season campaign that puts the 'fun' back in 'fundraising.' Santa Dollars are a GREAT gift for kids, friends, family, and co-workers.  Check out our Santa Dollars 2014 page for more info, and to purchase yours today.  

Funding the way to a cure


The Benevento family began a fundraiser recently that has stretched into VOC Fundraising month. Both of their boys were born with oculocutaneous albinism (OCA), and were recently able to participate in Dr. Struck's clinical trial.  While participating in the trial, Stephen and Joseph both experienced a remarkable improvement in their vision, but had to cease the medication at the end of the trial.  

Sadly, they had to stop taking the medication because the study is not published yet. The drug is not FDA approved for this purpose. The study will not be published until there are more participants and a trend or pattern can be established. The problem is, this study is not funded. We paid out of pocket, almost $10,000 total. Other families would love to participate but can not shoulder the financial burden.
— Tarsha Crotty Benevento

For this reason, Tarsha and her family started a fundraiser to help other families touched by OCA participate in this clinical trial.  Their goal was $5,000, and they've already raised over $3,300.  Check out their GoFundMe, and join the cause by donating or sharing with your friends on facebook.  

Hope is in Sight!




For two months, VOC was front and center at the Walgreens store in Encinitas. Huge VOC banners hung from the ceiling and $1 donation cards plastered the front wall. For the second year in a row, the store encouraged customers to donate to VOC at check out.

VOC Visual Challenge banners hanging in Walgreens' Encinitas location

Store Manager, Hunter Richmond, stands next to the display of the VOC Challenge video and donate cards.

“I wanted to come up with something that will grab customers’ attention,” said Store Manager Hunter Richmond. So, on the heels of publicity surrounding the ALS ice bucket challenge, Richmond decided to apply the idea for our cause.

He challenged his employees to an ice bucket challenge, made a hilarious youtube video, and played the video on a loop on a monitor next to the cash register. Richmond also showed the video at a district management meeting, and encouraged other managers to douse themselves with icy cold water and donate cash to VOC.

Final numbers are still being tallied, but it looks like Richmond and his colleagues raised more than $300 for VOC. Way to go!

Want to do your own VOC Ice Bucket Challenge?

Make sure to film it and share it on youtube or facebook with the hashtag #VOCtheBucketStopsHere , and challenge your friends and family to donate toward cures.

Just in time for VOC Fundraising Month, a VOC family sent us the results of their recent fundraising event.

Lucas and Dylan, VOC kids

Attendees at the Shot for Sight Mitzvah project, a fundraising event benefiting VOC

Lucas and Dylan celebrated their B’nai Mitzvah last month.  Having been born with ocular albinism and being familiar with the work of VOC, they decided to do a Mitzvah (charitable) project benefiting VOC.  They called it Shot for Sight, and invited all their friends and family to come to the house for a free-throw shooting contest. 

The event raised more than $600, which was donated to VOC for vision research! We commend Lucas and Dylan, and their parents, for their creative support of VOC. Thank you so much!


Join Us

Families and kids around the nation are joining the cause during October, VOC’s Fundraising Month.  How will you join the cause to help kids see better? Hope is in sight!

October is VOC Fundraising Month

In September 2006, VOC awarded scholarships to the Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students (SCIVIS). It’s great to see that SCIVIS is celebrating 25 years of making lifetime memories for visually impaired students.  Keep it up!

 Check out this comment from a visually impaired student that VOC sent to Space Camp:

Thanks again for giving me the chance to go to space camp to learn all of these wonderful things about one of our nation’s greatest triumphs and the chance to have the experience of a lifetime.  Space Camp Was Amazing! - Tyler

Last week, we celebrated a very special birthday.  Vivian Hardage, VOC co-founder, is a three time breast cancer survivor and constant source of inspiration to so many. She celebrated her birthday last week, and we invited many of you to join in the celebration by signing up for the Ralphs Community Contribution Program. We gave her a card with the names of all who signed up, and a flower arrangement to show our appreciation and good wishes.  Thank you to so many in the VOC family who show your love and support!  

And there's still time to sign up if you want to join in the fun.  

AuthorKenny Liles

October $2,000 Contest and $5 New Member Bonuses Mean Bigger Donations for Vision of Children Foundation

Fall is here and we're looking forward to the holidays. What better time to help Vision of Children Foundation just by sharing. Tell your friends, even friends who support some other cause or charity. Each person who joins iGive in October for the first time can mean $5 automatically donated to his or her cause ... no purchase necessary! All they need to do is try the iGive Button through 1/15/15.

The person who gets the most new members to join iGive in October and try the Button through 1/15/15 earns $1,000 for his or her cause - no matter what cause or charity the new members they invited choose to support. $500 prizes go to the second and third place winners' causes.

Share your special Tell A Friend link to get credit for the contest (it's the only way to get credit). 

Go get the special link from: http://www.iGive.com/html/tellafriend.cfm

At your Tell A Friend page you'll also be able to see which of your friends are helping you win Vision of Children Foundation one of those sweet prizes.

Why share with your friends? -

  1. You could win $1,000 or $500 for Vision of Children Foundation.
  2. When friends shop, they'll help Vision of Children Foundation or their own favorite cause.  Why not let them take advantage of over 1,500 stores that want to help?
  3. The average shopper is raising over $30 - $100 a year for their cause ... all for free.
  4. It's simple and automatic..
  5. Five bucks free, just for trying us out.
  6. The more iGive members, the better the deals we can get from stores.

Spread your iGive link everywhere (Facebook's a great way, but Twitter, email, blogs, bulletin boards, and handouts all work).

Get your personalized Tell A Friend link:

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us
at http://support.iGive.com

Good Luck!

AuthorKenny Liles

Ralph's grocery stores will automatically donate a portion of your purchases to benefit Vision of Children if you register your loyalty shopping card.  Participating customers must re-register their card for the Ralph's Community Contribution Program as of September 1 in order for our charity to receive the contributions.  If you love VOC and shop at Ralph's, this is an effortless and effective way to support your favorite charity.  See instructions on re-registering your card below.  Thanks for your support!




1.      Log in to www.ralphs.com

2.      Click on ‘Create an Account’

3.      Follow the 5 easy steps to create an online account

4.      You will be instructed to go to your email inbox to confirm your account

5.      After you confirm your online account by clicking on the link in your email, return to www.ralphs.com and click on ‘my account’ (you may have to sign in again first).

6.      View all your information and edit as necessary

7.      Link your card to your organization by clicking on:

a.      Community Rewards

b.      Edit my community contribution and follow the instructions

c.      Remember to click on the circle to the left of your organizations’ name



1.      Log in to www.ralphs.com

2.      Click Sign In

3.      Enter your email address and password

4.      Click on ‘My Account’ (In the top right hand corner)

5.      Click on Account Settings

6.      View all your information and edit as necessary

7.      Link your card to your organization by clicking on:

a.      Community Rewards

b.      Edit my community contribution and follow the instructions

c.      Remember to click on the circle to the left of your organizations’ name

Do you think he would rather wear cheese or throw cheese?”  

This question from Finn, our nine-year old son, marked the end of our visit to Madison - Wisconsin. It was the last of three trips to the University of Wisconsin where he was taking part in a clinical drug trial. Standing in the airport gift shop, Finn was trying to decide on a gift for his seven-year old brother Oscar and had narrowed the choices down to either a “cheese head” hat or a “cheese” football.  As Finn debated the pros and cons of each souvenir it struck me that this decision was more difficult for Finn to make than it had been for him (and us) to agree to take part in the dopamine drug trial.  He finally selected the football and we were the last passengers to board the plane for Canada.


Finn was born with oculocutaneous albinism, OCA1. When he was three-months old we were given the hopeless diagnosis; our son was legally blind. There was nothing we could do for his vision, and to “...come back again in five years.” Since that diagnosis, together with our fantastic pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Terri Young,we did everything that could be done to help improve his vision including patching and strabismus surgery, but these interventions did not solve all his vision problems. Fast forward to April 2013: we learned about Dr. Struck’s clinical drug trial at UW Health to study the effects of dopamine replacement on the eyesight of people with OCA1. After some background research and speaking with Finn’s ophthalmologist, we presented Finn with all the facts. It would mean three trips to Madison, some missed school and taking pills three times per day for three months. We explained that he might also experience some side effects like an upset stomach and bad dreams. Finally, after going through it all, we had to tell him there was a chance that the drug would not have any effect on his vision. Tough stuff for a nine-year old to comprehend, but Finn is a competitive soccer player and never leaves anything on the field. He decided it was worth the effort regardless of the outcome.

Our first visit with Dr. Struck and his team was in May 2013. The clinical research coordinator, Angie Wealti, greeted us warmly in the lobby of the UW Heath Eye Clinic. Understandably both Finn and I were nervous but Dr. Struck was engaging and friendly. He and Finn chatted about Premier League soccer and Finn’s favorite players all the while answering some general eye and health related questions.

Over the next six hours, with a quick break for a snack around lunchtime, Finn participated in five vision tests. He was asked to arrange colors in a spectrum, read eye charts and look at black and white dots and patterns on a television screen. According to Finn the electroretinogram was the most exciting test. It involved sitting in a dark room for forty-five minutes and then looking at red dots and white flashes on a monitor.

Angie escorted us from one test to the next, along the way introducing us to all the doctors, orthoptists and ophthalmic technicians who work on this project.  Everyone was friendly, caring and helpful and took the time to explain each test to Finn directly, telling him why they needed to do it and what it measured. Finn’s natural curiosity took over and by the end of the first visit he thought he might give a short presentation to his class about his experiences with the clinical trial.

The second visit was three months later, after Finn had been on the prescribed drug protocol for Levodopa/Carbidopa. Identical to the first set of tests, Finn now knew what to expect and was more relaxed and very curious about the result of each test.

Over the course of the three months that Finn took the pills, he only experienced a tummy ache one morning after taking the pill on an empty stomach. The most difficult part of the whole process was remembering to take the pills after each meal every day.  We did forget a couple of times but after the first month it became a habit. The final visit with Dr. Struck and his team took just two hours and we were done before lunch.  As usual the visit was well-organized and seamless with almost no waiting time between each test.

Participation in Dr. Struck’s clinical drug trial was a positive learning experience for Finn and our family. He learned about OCA1 from a different perspective. Undergoing the tests and speaking directly with the doctors sparked his interest in learning everything he could about his condition and then taking ownership of that knowledge. 

A year later, Finn looks upon his participation in the drug trial as a positive and constructive experience, one where he was able to do something proactive to help himself. Back at school he now approaches his “differences” from a confident point of view. He has learned to be an effective advocate for himself regarding his low vision. Most importantly, on our last flight home from Madison while gripping the “cheese” football, he told me that even if no improvement in his vision is detected, he felt that he has “helped science” and that maybe his contribution “...could help other kids in the future, but we won’t know unless we try these kinds of things Mom.”  

This post was contributed by Roben Stikeman Boyle, a VOC Family Network Member and mother of a participant in Dr. Struck's Dopamine Replacement Clinical Trial.  Thank you, Roben, for sharing your family's story with us.