Athens, Ga. – A coast-to-coast fundraising tour that aims to raise $50,000 for vision-related research at the University of Georgia will make stops in Athens on June 29 and Marietta on June 30.
SeeFit is a fundraising series of events launched in 2010 by Helen and Adam Mopsick, parents of 4-year-old Colton, who was born visually impaired. After learning that their son’s already poor vision would further deteriorate from corneal blindness, they decided to combine their passion for fitness with raising money for research to benefit Colton and the millions of others potentially facing corneal blindness. Since its inception, SeeFit has raised more than $100,000 and funded ongoing research projects at the University of Iowa and the University of Georgia.
On June 29, the Mopsick family will meet with Jim Lauderdale, associate professor of cellular biology in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. For the past 15 years, Lauderdale has been working to find a treatment for aniridia, the rare genetic condition that affects Colton. Last year, Lauderdale and his colleagues discovered a new way to screen for drugs that can help treat the corneal defect in aniridia.
The meeting in Athens at 3 p.m. in Lauderdale’s lab-Room 250 of the university’s Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences-will give Lauderdale an opportunity to meet Colton and his family as well as the seven athletes who are traveling from Florida to California to raise money for Lauderdale’s research.
At 9 a.m. on June 30, the athletes will perform a CrossFit firefighter’s workout with members of the Marietta Fire Department located at 112 Haynes Street to help raise awareness for their efforts (note to editors: please contact Marietta Deputy Fire Chief Danny Rackley if you’d like to cover the workout).
Other events include fundraising workouts at 20 CrossFit gyms along the route in which volunteers contribute to the Vision for Tomorrow Foundation, a nonprofit 501c3 organization that is directly connected to SeeFit. The final destination for the seven athletes-Noah Ohlsen, Dylan Malitsky, Brock Gamez, Eric Marrero, Jonathan Weislow, Forrest Walterhoefer and Cameron Uranick-is the CrossFit Games in Los Angeles on July 13.
“Dr. Lauderdale’s discovery is the most hopeful discovery we have come across in preventing corneal blindness in individuals like our son,” said Helen Mopsick, Vision for Tomorrow board member. “Vision for Tomorrow and SeeFit are committed to doing all we can to make the prevention of corneal blindness a reality for our children.”