About Drive For Sight
Drive for Sight is an entertaining fundraising event for car enthusiasts interested in getting together with other like minded individuals while supporting the incredible retinal research currently underway at Canadian universities and hospitals across our country. With your help, a cure for children with genetically inherited blindness is just around the corner. Drive for Sight is day of great people, great cars, a great drive and great food. View our event listing for details of upcoming Drive for Sight events.
The Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB)
The Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) is a national vision research charity founded in 1974. They have grown into Canada’s leading private supporter of world class retina research. Since their inception they have funded over $18.5M in groundbreaking research at major hospitals and universities in Canada. An organization and community of volunteers, scientists and supporters, they are fighting to restore the gift of sight to those affected by genetic forms of blindness, specifically Retinitis Pigmentosa (which LCA is the childhood and most severe type), Macular Degeneration and related retinal diseases.
No other Canadian organization is dedicated solely to research and public education to combat genetic eye diseases that cause blindness.
Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a hereditary disease that strikes children and young adults and results in either immediate blindness (in the case of LCA), or progressive, ever-narrowing tunnel vision culminating in blindness. There are 30,000 people with the disease in Canada and 3,000 are diagnosed yearly.
Macular Degeneration (MD) causes progressive loss of central vision. Approximately one million people in Canada are currently afflicted with this disease. An astonishing 70% of people over the age of 60 worldwide will be affected by MD in the next 15 years.
Promising areas of FFB supported research, past and present, include:
- Genetic Research: discovery of degeneration-causing genes and mutations
- Gene Therapy: replacing missing functions or suppressing damaging effects of mutant genes
- Stem Cell Research: replacement of lost rod and cone photoreceptors
- Cell Implantation: delivery of neuroprotective substances to slow down or prevent retinal degeneration
- Nutritional Therapies: to replace essential substances that are missing because of gene mutations
Research projects that receive FFB funding have to meet Funds Allocations Guidelines through intensive peer review by the FFB’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), which is made up of top Canadian and non-Canadian scientists and ophthalmologists.
Sight-Saving Research in Alberta
The Foundation Fighting Blindness is committed to supporting sight-saving research in universities and hospitals across Canada. Alberta is an important site for our investments.
- Over the past ten years, $1.27 million in research funding has been invested in scientists and trainees based in Alberta.
- Three of the eight graduate and post-doctoral students who received funds from the Foundation Fighting Blindness in 2010 were based in Alberta. This bodes well for the future of vision research in the province.
Major Discoveries in Sight-Saving Research Made in Alberta with FFB Support
- Dr. Ian Macdonald developed a screening test for choroideremia, now used around the world. Choroideremia is an inherited eye condition that causes severe vision loss – most often in young men.
- Dr. Torben Bech-Hensen discovered the gene defects that lead to inherited night blindness.
- Dr. Sarah McFarlane and her colleagues are the first to identify ADAM10, a protein essential to developing optic nerve cells. FFB-funded graduate student, Karen Atkinson-Leadbeater is a co-author of this paper.
There is currently groundbreaking eye research taking place at universities and hospitals across Canada. Significant revolutionary research is underway right here in Edmonton. Leading edge Canadian retinal research is close to bringing sight to those born with inherited forms of blindness. A cure is in sight. It is just a matter of time.
Register for the Drive for Sight Scavenger Hunt.Register Now
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Edmonton Car Gallery
Edmonton Performance Car Gallery images courtesy of Redline Photography.