Our network

Foundation Fighting Blindness to Honor Wes Bush & Dr. Ignacio Rodriguez at NoVA Dining in the Dark | Events

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Foundation Fighting Blindness to Honor Wes Bush & Dr. Ignacio Rodriguez at NoVA Dining in the Dark
Events, Health, People
Foundation Fighting Blindness to Honor Wes Bush & Dr. Ignacio Rodriguez at NoVA Dining in the Dark

U.S. Reps. Jim Moran and Pete Sessions are Honorary Co-Chairs for Unique Dining Event

Washington, D.C. — The Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) will honor Chief Executive Officer and President of Northrop Grumman Corporation Wes Bush and Dr. Ignacio Rodriguez of NIH’s National Eye Institute with Visionary Awards. The annual Northern Virginia Dining in the Dark event will recognize these leaders at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner on December 16, 2010.  Wes Bush is being recognized for his support for the Foundation’s work and for the corporation’s diversity policies, which include a commitment to providing employment and leadership opportunities to people with limited vision. Dr. Ignacio Rodriguez, chief of the Mechanism of Retinal Diseases at the National Eye Institute, is being honored for his retinal degenerative research contributions. The Northern Virginia Dining in the Dark event will benefit the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the largest source of non-governmental funding for retinal degenerative disease research in the world.

“Both Wes Bush and Dr. Ignacio Rodriguez have shown vision and leadership in our successful research efforts to drive preventions, treatments and cures for blinding eye diseases, as well as in our effort to provide support to people affected,” said Bill Schmidt, Foundation Fighting Blindness CEO. “We are pleased to honor them at the Dining in the Dark event as we give guests a glimpse into the lives of the more than 10 million Americans who suffer from retinal diseases.”

The event is co-chaired by Foundation National Trustee and President of its Northern Virginia Chapter Bill Carty, vice president and general manager, Defense and Government Systems Division for Northrop Grumman Technical Services; Jody Kelly and Donna Burke Tehaan. Congressman Jim Moran and Congressman Pete Sessions are serving as the honorary co-chairs. Carty, Kelly and Tehaan are all affected by the retinal degenerative disease retinitis pigmentosa, which progressively leads to blindness. Carty, with assistance of a guide dog, has held several management positions at Northrop Grumman Corporation. Kelly and Tehaan are active organizers of Foundation events.

Dining in the Dark is a distinctive sensory awareness experience in which guests participate in an unforgettable dining adventure, in complete darkness. Following a 6:00 p.m. cocktail reception, Dining in the Dark guests will be ushered into the main ballroom where honorees will be recognized with the Foundation’s Visionary Award and the lights will be lowered, blanketing the room in total darkness. For about 30 minutes, guests will enjoy their entrée using only their senses of smell, sound and touch. Visually impaired servers, who are not professional staff, but are trained at the hotel specifically for the dinner, will help guests through this new experience. The rooms are specially set up with ropes and stanchions to help the servers navigate.

Created in Germany, Dining in the Dark is a one-of-a-kind concept that has been popular in European cities including Paris, Berlin and Vienna.  Moving to America in 2005, Dining in the Dark has enticed thousands of people who want to experience and understand an unfamiliar world. For tickets to the December 16th event, click here.

The urgent mission of the Foundation Fighting Blindness is to drive the research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome, and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases.  Since its inception in 1971, the Foundation has raised over $400 million. Most recently, the Foundation is funding gene therapy clinical trials treating patients affected with Leber’s congenital amaurosis, a severe form of retinitis pigmentosa that causes blindness or substantial vision loss at birth. Results from the breakthrough study showed that gene therapy has restored significant vision in children and young adults who were previously blind. The advancement paves the way for using gene therapy to treat a wide variety of retinal degenerative diseases, proving that a cure is just around the corner.

Events, Health, People