(Crystal A. Proxmire, The Ferndale 115 News, Feb. 15, 2012 ed)
Brian Lane has been taking steps to increase awareness about vision impairments ever since injury caused his mother to lose much of her sight. Not only is he taking steps, he is running at the problem head on, with a nonprofit organization in his mother’s honor where his goal is to run 52 marathons nationwide to raise money and awareness. So far he has run 15.
To further help the cause, Lane will be doing 30 Days in the Dark. Wearing blindfolds and a special pair of blinding goggles, Lane will experience vision impairment at various levels for a month.
“I want to finally get an idea of just how my mom sees the world,” Lane said. “So for 30 days in March, I will be living life as a blind person. I will go through this in 3 stages to get an idea of the varying degrees of blindness. The first 10 days I will have a mask that takes away all my peripheral vision, leaving me with tunnel vision. The right eye of the mask is also covered with plastic wrap to blur the vision out of that eye. The second 10 days I will have a mask that gives me no central vision, and a lack of peripheral vision. This will give me an idea of what people with LHON and several other conditions see the world like. The final mask will leave me completely in the dark. It is rare that a person loses total vision, many total blind people still see even some light or shadows, but this will give me an understanding of what those without any vision experience.”
He further explained, “So as to not damage my own eyes during this I will be using those two masks for the first two-three weeks and the final week I will be completely in the dark. There will be times during the day on days I work that I cannot be blindfolded because of my job, but I would say that 20 hours a day at least I will be. I will do all of my daily activities blindfolded, so showering, brushing my teeth, shaving, getting dressed, eating, going out, working out, etc.”
Lane is the promotions and marketing manager for Bingo Pet Salon in Downtown Royal Oak. “I will be attending some meetings and working in the salon with the mask to see how it is to adjust to work as a blind person. The most difficult will be the week I’m completely blind,” Lane said.
So far his experiments with the blindfolds have not gone perfectly. “ I did walk into a wall, almost brushed my teeth with Neosporen, and made a PB&J with only a dab of peanut butter and half the bottle of jelly. It was the squeeze bottle and I guess I squeezed to hard,” he said.
He’s also going to be wearing a bright orange tee shirt that says “Ask Me Why?” to help spark conversation, and hopefully encourage people to donate. “Our goal is to raise $25,000 in the month for research into vision loss,” he said.
FiftyTwo4Mom is a 501(c)3 organization set up to increase awareness of optic nerve disorders; raise money for the funding of research into causes, treatments, and cures; and to help fund programs to assist individuals who suffer from such disorders. All donations raised by FiftyTwo4Mom benefit the International Foundation for Optic Nerve Disease (IFOND) and the Foundation for Fighting Blindness (FFB) to fund research done in the United States and to fund programs to help people who suffer from Optic Nerve and other eye conditions.
There are a few ways people can donate. They can use the general donation page at www.fiftytwo4mom.org, they can donate on the special 30 Days In The Dark page at www.30days.stayclassy.org. Or they can mail donations using the contact info on the website.
Lane will be posting nightly reports that he types blindfolded, on the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fiftytwo4mom. There will also be pictures of his activities.
Check out a previous Ferndale 115 News story on Brian’s quest (in our old format!) at http://www.ferndale115.com/19p16mom52.html.