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Nov 1, 2021

A LETTER TO FIGHTING BLINDNESS CANADA

After many years of reading personal stories of those living with vision loss, I find
that it is my turn to share a bit of our story and how my husband and I came to
a decision to fund Fighting Blindness Canada’s (FBC’s) research program through estate planning.

Our interest in vision research began when our family was young and I was
diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP). It was not entirely a surprise because my
mother also had RP; however, not having had regular eye exams, it was quite
shocking to hear my doctor say “You will be blind in 2 – 3 years.”

It was small comfort that I recalled my mother saying that we had the ‘good kind of RP, late onset’. But I put the diagnosis behind me and continued with my life, raising three children with my husband, Greg, and working full time. When the effects of RP became more significant for me in middle age, I learned that my sister and one of my children also had RP. It was actually Greg who encouraged me to become involved with FBC and I signed on to FBC’s Inherited Retinal Disease Patient Registry, received genetic testing, attended vision conferences (now called View Point), read the newsletters and joined in fund raising. It became increasingly important to think optimistically, that yes, someday, researchers will find treatments to restore sight or limit its loss. Lifetimes seem to pass quickly while ‘waiting’ for medical break throughs but when our child’s vision health became our focus, we needed to stay engaged and support vision sciences as much as we could. And so we did. Regular monthly donations and later gifting of stocks was our way of supporting vision research with FBC.

I was coping with my vision loss and into our busy retirement years, our children grown with lives and families of their own, when life changed suddenly for us in 2018. Greg was diagnosed with a terminal illness. He had always been a healthy and energetic man and doctors could only explain it as a matter of ‘bad luck”. It is difficult for me to recall this time, the few years we had left and the added restrictions of the pandemic. So I will direct my thoughts to the purpose of this letter and explain how we considered our most recent donation.

As a thoughtful and practical man, Greg was committed to environmental work and medical research and made FBC the beneficiary of an insurance policy. In his Will, he also donated a percentage of his estate to FBC. Looking back on this, it was an easy decision, to support research that can make such a difference to otherwise healthy and productive individuals. We believed that those who can should support whatever causes are important to them. Simply said, it added meaning to our lives. By making an estate donation, we were able to imagine a more hopeful future for our family and for all those others with vision loss. I know many of you will feel the same.

Cathy Haverstock, October 2021


Learn more about how you can leave a gift in your Will at fightingblindness.ca/leave-a-legacy or call Doug Smith, Manager of Planned Giving & Donor Relations 1.800.461.3331 ext. 237.

Image that reads "your gift brings hope to over 1 million Canadians living with vision loss."

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