$50 million pledge for blindness research

In this Wednesday, March 26, 2014 photo, Megan Dausch, an instructor at the Helen Keller National Center, demonstrates the use of a Braille reader that helps blind clients access the Internet, in Sands Point, N.Y. The center, based in suburban New York, is leading an effort to distribute $10 million annually in high-technology equipment to assist low-income deaf and blind consumers across the country. (AP Photo/Frank Eltman)
In this Wednesday, March 26, 2014 photo, Megan Dausch, an instructor at the Helen Keller National Center, demonstrates the use of a Braille reader that helps blind clients access the Internet, in Sands Point, N.Y. The center, based in suburban New York, is leading an effort to distribute $10 million annually in high-technology equipment to assist low-income deaf and blind consumers across the country. (AP Photo/Frank Eltman)

COLUMBIA, Maryland (AP) — Businessman and philanthropist Gordon Gund is pledging $50 million in matching donations as part of an effort to restore vision for some blind people.

Gund is chairman of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, based in Columbia, Maryland. The 74-year-old former owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers lost his sight to a degenerative retinal disease at age 30.

On Saturday, the foundation announced that Gund will match $50 million or more in contributions to fund research to cure retinal diseases that cause blindness. The goal is to raise $100 million total by 2020.

Gund says the foundation has already made significant advances toward its goal and that the funding will help maintain its momentum. Research from the foundation helped lead to the commercial launch of the first “bionic retina.”

 

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