For years, NBC correspondent Peter Alexander watched his sister, Rebecca, battle an illness that slowly robbed her of sight and hearing.
He watched her struggles but never truly experienced them until he spent a recent lunch hour with her — blindfolded.
At his sister’s urging, Alexander took the How Eye See It challenge to better understand the experiences of more than 10 million Americans affected by retinal degenerative diseases.
The Foundation Fighting Blindness is using the challenge to raise awareness and $2.5 million by World Sight Day on October 13. The organization hopes the experiment educates people about blindness similar to the way the Ice Bucket Challenge increased awareness for ALS two years ago.
Usher Syndrome is robbing Rebecca Alexander of her hearing and sight, although a cochlear implant has enabled her to hear again. Rebecca’s sight is near completely gone and only getting worse.
Yet she has overcome challenges that even people with sight have failed to accomplish. She climbed Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro last year and, more recently, swam the choppy San Francisco Bay from Alcatraz prison to shore.
That’s why her brother was certain he could make it blindfolded through just one lunch at a nice restaurant. Easier said than done.
To learn more about the How Eye See It challenge and about the treatments being developed for inherited retinal degenerative diseases, go to the Foundation Fighting Blindness, #HowEyeSeeIt or the Today Show.