Students Go 'Blind' for Charity

Hundreds of students voluntarily went "blind" during "Kindness Beats Blindness Day" at Harrington Middle School in Mount Laurel, N.J.

Wearing blindfolds all day, they raised awareness and money to fight a disease called retinitis pigmentosa. The illness affects the retina and eventually robs people of their sight.

They were inspired by 13-year-old Rebecca Veeck of South Carolina, who is suffering from the disease.

The students went through the day "seeing" what it was like to be visually impaired. All of the students who were "blind" had a partner guiding them as a "seeing eye kid." Their goal was to raise money and awareness for The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a charity that researches blindness prevention, cures and treatments. The students asked businesses, families and friends to sponsor them, and donate money to the organization.

It's One of the Most Difficult Things To Do

One of the students, Alexandra Carr, thought that being "blind" was going to be easy. But it turned out to be one of the most difficult things she has ever done. "I don't know how Rebecca can actually walk around being blind every day and, you know, going through life like that," Alexandra said.

Rebecca was there to help Alexandra and the rest of the students get through the day. "She was encouraging us to keep the blindfold on," said Alexandra. "And telling us that you can do it ... She told us that she makes it through her life with her blindfold on all the time."

Children's advocate and author Tom Baldrick, came up with the idea for the experiment. "I wrote about her [Rebecca] in, in my last book and fell in love with her," Baldrick said. "And when I came here to talk to the kids in September about how they could change the world, they voted unanimously that they wanted to do this project to help Rebecca."

Rebecca was 6 years old when she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa. Her vision has gradually deteriorated, and an aide now sits with her in class to help her write and answer questions. She has nearly mastered Braille.

You can find out more about "Kindness Beats Blindness Day" at www.blindness.org/KindnessBeatsBlindness/

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