At 10 years old, Lucie Ray enjoys music, movies, reading and sports, especially softball. She plays recreational softball out of Kennworth Park in Acworth and travel ball for Georgia Trouble.
In February, Lucie, who lives with her family in Acworth, was diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease.
Stargardt’s disease is a genetic degenerative disease that affects the retina. This is caused by an inability to metabolize Vitamin A which causes the vitamin to calcify in the back of the retina, leading to the deterioration of an individual’s central vision.
While there is no medical cure for Stargardt’s disease, there are technologies available that are designed to make living with the disease easier. eSight is a Canadian based company that manufactures visors with an HD camera in the front and two smaller panels inside which allow the wearer to see straight ahead using his or her peripheral vision.
Unfortunately for the Ray family, these visors cost $10,000 and are not covered by insurance. However, eSight is aware of the fact that most families cannot pay out of pocket and provides families with fundraising tools.
“eSight has their own fundraising department and has been very helpful,” said Beau Ray, Lucie Ray’s father.
Since the Ray family began a fundraising push in June, they have received support from a variety of sources including Lucie Ray’s travel softball, which has donated money directly and raised additional money by selling T-shirts.
The Ray family has also received support from several local businesses.
When Scott Sawyer, the father of one of Lucie’s classmates, learned about Lucie he decided he had to find a way to help out, so he brought the Rays’ situation to the attention of All About Towne, a Woodstock based business group.
“I have been a member of the group for about 12 years and we always like to find a local cause to be involved with,” Sawyer said, “So I knew the group would want to participate.”
Sawyer told the group about Lucie at one of the organization’s weekly meetings and the members of All About Towne began working to raise more money.
One member of All About Towne offered to donate $500 if Pete LaQuaglia, another member of the group known for his long hair, would agree to have his hair cut at the group’s weekly meeting at IHOP on Aug. 10 at 5:30 p.m. LaQuaglia was open to the idea and ServiceKing has pledged $1,000 for the cause.
“I am willing to give up my hippie lifestyle for a good cause,” LaQuaglia said.
Beau Ray said he and his wife Angie Ray have been surprised by support they have received from the community.
“We thought most of the support we would receive would be from online but at this point most of the money has come from the local community,” Beau Ray said.
So far, $4,115 has been raised for Lucie Ray on the eSight website. Beau Ray said that number does not include the money that was raised through T-shirt sales and that the total amount of money that has been raised is close to $5,000.
Efforts are continuing to help get the family to their goal.
Individuals who would like to learn more or to donate can do so by visiting http://giving.esighteyewear.com/lucie-ray.