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Why We Walk

"I walk for my young son, Justin! He was diagnosed with idiopathic Uveitis in January 2016. We had no idea what Uveitis was and it turns out that we were not alone! It is a rare chronic condition that most people have never heard of. I remember very vividly how we discovered his Uveitis (accidentally!), how doctor after doctor recommended we see someone else because of how extensive his inflammation was (every layer of his eye and his optic nerve), how scary every test was that he went through (extensive labs, x-rays, body scans, MRI of his brain and orbits), and how daunting everything felt as we tried to navigate all the care and attention he needed. 

Fast forward 18 months later and I am happy to share that Justin is doing great and his vision is way better than any doctor would have expected!! I attribute it in part to the wonderful doctors that Justin sees regularly, one of which is a Uveitis specialist trained through the MERSI institute.

Last year, my family and I participated in Walk for Vision NY/NJ for the first time. Through the walk, we were able to help raise money for research, increase awareness and education, and meet others with the same condition. My family and I will continue walking for vision for years to come. Please join us!"
- Melissa Barnes
"There are a lot of reasons why I walk in the annual Walk for Vision NJ/NY! As someone who has had chronic idiopathic uveitis for more than 20 years I feel strongly that this is one of the most effective ways to educate people about this eye disease!
In 2007 we had our 1st Walk for Vision NJ/NY. The Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation has held a 5K walk for many years in Boston and I contacted them about the possibilities of starting one in the tri-state area.  They were excited and supportive and here we are- 10 years later! The Walk for Vision NJ/NY 2017 marks 10 years that friends, family, doctors, and patients have been gathering together in Verona Park to support each other.

Uveitis can be an invisible and challenging condition. It can be very hard to manage and people are often unaware that we have this eye disease.  The Walk for Vision provides that understanding and support.  I have made many new friends through this event and each year I make more!  There are nearly 20 people with uveitis who come to the walk now and we have almost 250 supporters!  There are people of all ages who participate in the event. We have a lot of fun!

I believe it is imperative to continue to host the Walk for Vision so that we can educate people about this disease, raise funds so more physicians can be well versed in the condition, and continue to provide a place for networking, support, and education."

- Lauren Jacobs-Lazer