“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller
You can’t always control what kind of challenges life will throw at you. But, you can always choose how you respond. Just ask Ash Brokerage’s own Kristin Snyder, who has turned a very difficult situation into an inspiration.
In May 2015, Kristin’s son Daniel was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). This causes Daniel to see with tunnel vision, which will progressively get worse over time. The tunnel will get smaller, and eventually, it will result in complete blindness.
Daniel developed RP from a related genetic disease called Cohen Syndrome, which is characterized by intellectual and physical disabilities, congenital neutropenia, autism and retinal degeneration. He is currently 11 years old but functions at a 2- to 3-year-old level. Because of his developmental disabilities, he does not understand why he cannot see at times or that he’ll one day go blind.
“As we drove home from Riley Hospital after Daniel’s diagnosis, my husband and I began researching and found the Fort Wayne Vision Walk, which benefits the Foundation Fighting Blindness. We immediately decided we wanted to help find a treatment/cure and formed ‘Team Daniel’ to help raise money and awareness,” Kristin said.
Team Daniel has since become a force. They’ve not only participated in the Fort Wayne Vision Walk for two years, but they’ve also participated in other fundraising efforts to support the Foundation Fighting Blindness, whose mission is to drive research providing preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by blinding retinal diseases. Check out this video from the 2016 Vision Walk.
In the 15 months since Daniel was diagnosed, Team Daniel has raised more than $15,000 for the Foundation – and they’re not done. The team’s second annual online silent auction is set for Dec. 14. Last year, they raised almost $3,000 with the auction, which is supported by donations from individuals and businesses.
“Team Daniel gives our family hope and something positive to focus on. We’ve succeeded in turning a very negative situation into something positive and inspiring,” Kristin said.
The Ash Brokerage family has joined her in support. During one of our Friday Morning Meetings, Tim Ash explained why we’ve all been inspired by Kristin and her family.
“Kristin hit this challenge head-on,” Tim said. The average person would have responded with a ‘Why me?’ attitude, but she didn’t let this humongous challenge bring her down. That, to me, is award-worthy. She would probably say the wind in her sails is from her teammates, family and friends, but she has definitely set the example to follow.”
In March, the Snyders traveled to the University of Iowa to participate in new research focused on genetic mutations and a gene editing platform that may be able to reverse blindness in individuals with Retinitis Pigmentosa. This research is funded by the FFB and may provide Daniel with treatment options.
No matter the outcome of the research, Team Daniel will continue to raise money and awareness.
To support Team Daniel and the Foundation Fighting Blindness, you can visit Team Daniel's Vision Walk Page.
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