Vision Hero Joel Gomez Captures Hearts at ZEISS Event

Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc. employees showed their caring spirit by selecting The Vision of Children Foundation as the non-profit beneficiary at their national sales meeting.  Employees had the option to wear jeans during the weeklong meeting if they gave a donation to Vision of Children.  On the last day of the conference, the Zeiss employees participated in a team building activity where they filled tote bags with toys for low vision children. The real excitement culminated after the activity when Vivian Hardage, Co-Founder of Vision of Children, made a special presentation that brought people to their feet.

Vivian shared the story of learning that her son had ocular albinism. The rare vision disorder was only identified after meeting with many  pediatricians and opthlalmologists, which finally led to seeking out scientists who could begin working on a cure.  “It’s a remarkable time to be working in genetic research,” she shared. “We’ve driven science to the horizon of actually restoring vision to children who cannot see,” says Vivian.

Zeiss employees shared her enthusiasm, and then Vivian introduced a video of one of our Vision Heroes. They watched the moving video of legally blind, 13-year-old Joel Gomez, who shares his passion for running competitively and playing music, without the benefit of full vision.  As the clapping began to subside, Vivian shared a surprise: Joel Gomez was waiting off-stage to perform for the hundreds of people in the room. People rose to their feet again to cheer on this Vision Hero. Joel thanked the crowd and sang “Just Wanna Smile with You,” while playing his ukulele. He captured the hearts of audience members and became an instant celebrity. When the event ended, people asked Joel to sign his autograph on programs and their t-shirts.

The Vision of Children Foundation was honored to partner with Carl Zeiss Vision. Zeiss employees raised $7,000 to support the organization. Part of their fundraising included the 21 gift bags for children who are sight impaired. These bags include tactile games, books in large print, a magnifier sheet, building blocks and other items that will help families of children who have a vision disorder.

Thank you, Carl Zeiss Vision. Your enthusiasm and gift makes us so grateful and “we just wanna smile with you.”