Kat and I had a blast at Berkfest with our VIP ticket package which we won on one of the charity auctions. The passes were a nice 'perk' as, we got to camp with the musicians including some of our friends from a Boston jamband, and also had access to the shady beer tent backstage with $1 Magic Hats...a great place to hang out and listen to the music.
We snagged the two Berkfest 'VIP guest' tix for a quite reasonable $375. That's a good value for the amenities we got, to say nothing of the 'warmfuzzies' of helping a good cause. We've attended many Mimi functions over the years, and remembering that energetic and kind woman who was so devoted to the jam music scene (not just Phish, by any means) in this way seems most appropriate. Our thanks to the Mimi Fishman Foundation and Gamelan Productions (who donated the package) for making that happen!
Jack R. Lebowitz, auction winner
* * *
"The American Glaucoma Society (AGS) appreciates the support from the Mimi Fishman Foundation in an effort to promote excellence in the care of patients, like Mimi, by supporting excellence in research and teaching."
Richard A. Lewis, M.D. ñ President, American Glaucoma Society
* * *
"Donations to the American Glaucoma Society by the Mimi Fishman Foundation have been extremely beneficial in supporting research to further our understanding and treatment of glaucoma. Without philanthropic support, advances in medicine will occur, but would be delayed. Delays in advancing science result in more people suffering from the effects of vision loss.
The Mimi Fishman Foundation has been playing an important role in aiding glaucoma research scientists combat this disease so that vision loss will not occur, allowing for an improved quality of life for individuals with glaucoma."
Louis B. Cantor, MD Treasurer, American Glaucoma Society Professor, Director Glaucoma Service Indiana University Department of Ophthalmology
* * *
The first time I made a donation to the Mimi Fishman Foundation was when she
passed away. I wanted to do something that would express my condolances to
her family and friends in a positive way.
A few months later I was the highest bidder for an autographed Farmhouse CD.
I framed the CD jacket and disk and gave it to my boyfriend for his 30th
Now I'm going to get a drum lesson with Jon Fishman! I've just become the
coolest soccer mom in Las Vegas.
All because I was fortunate enough to be able to support the Mimi Fishman
Foundation. In a world full of conflict, it's a beautiful thing to be
involved in something where everbody wins.
Debby Smith - Las Vegas, NV
* * *
Winning the Mimi Fishman Foundation auction for tickets and aftershow passes was one of the most amazing experiences of my life (summer of 99). I was treated very kindly by all involved and appreciate the fact that there even was something like this available for fans to be a part of. When one contributes to a charity, usually only the good feeling inside is what is received in return. This auction makes it doubly special in the fact that you receive something in return. Thank you to all involved in what was one of the most amazing summers of my life.
* * *
The attached letter (below) from a parent states much more eloquently than I can the tremendous impact of services on the life of each family with a young child who is visually impaired or blind. It is your extraordinary generosity and caring that allows us to provide these important services. Together we make a difference! Thank you.
Executive Director, Delta Gamma Center
I would like to paint a picture of my daughter for you. She is two years old with blonde hair that is usually up in pigtails, blue eyes and stands about 2 ‡ feet tall. Her smile is angelic, laugh absolutely contagious and an abundance of personality that draws everyone in who meets her. Itís not unusual for those she meets even once to ask about her often. Whatís her newest phrase? New encounter? Newest ìtrickî? When are you bringing her back? Do you need a babysitter?
There are some things very typical about my daughter: the terrible twoís - although they started about eight months early, her sense of adventure, wanting things her way, using the word ìNoî, comfort with and desire for routine, familiarity with time out, and knowing just when to say ìI love youÖso muchî. She loves to dance and listen to music and she isnít shy about it! Her dance moves and singing talent have amused many shoppers. You can probably picture a child just like my daughter.
Now Iíd like to tell you about some of the things that arenít typical about my daughter: she has the vocabulary of a three year old and will often speak in full sentences, knows her right from her left (and has for quite some time), has an incredible memory and remembers people after meeting them only once, motors around the room very quickly - but does not walk yet, weighs 23 pounds, has had six hospital stays in her short life, and more doctorís appointments than I anticipated in a lifetime. My daughter was born with bilateral persistent fetal vasculature syndrome and osteoporosis pseudoglioma syndrome.
Those are some big words for such a small person. What does the diagnosis mean? Basically, my daughter was born with both retinas detached and she has a degenerative bone condition. Youíve probably all heard of someone who has had a surgery to correct detached retinas and the outcome was fine, right? Itís not that easy with my daughter.
Although I can go on and on about my daughter, the real reason of this letter is to let you know about Delta Gamma Center, the services they provide, and how this organization has touched our lives.
I learned of the Delta Gamma Center (DGC) in November 2000, when my daughter was just over two months old and began utilizing their services the next month. Our first several visits were extremely emotional and tear-filled. The staff at DGC was supportive and understanding of my emotional state.
We began attending vision classes once a week with other children having visual impairments. These classes have been instrumental in my daughterís developmentÖand my education. Iíve always had the attitude that my daughter will be able to do anything she chooses in life and the staff at DGC has helped to prove this. Okay, so she may not be able to fly a plane or drive a carÖother than that, the world is at her fingertips.
There are two hours every week that she and I look forward toÖgoing to class to be with her friends and having fun. At the moment, my daughter is an only child and does not attend a day care facility with other children, so this offers an opportunity for her to be with other children. Classes are relaxed but structured so that the children know what to expect. We open with songs, and then one of the staff members speaks about a particular topic (one per month) and explains the activities scheduled for the evening. After ìplayî time, the little ones always have a snack and then sing a good-bye song.
The topics are talked about in a language that we (parents) can understand and are meaningful. An example of one topic is orientation and mobility: where you are in space and how to get from one spot to another. There are often times ìexercisesî that the parents participate in so that we have an understanding of what itís like for our children. Although I wouldnít call myself graceful, balance is something that I thought I had mastered long ago. I mentioned earlier that my daughter does not yet walk. Sometime, when you have a minute, stand in place and lift one leg off the floor with your eyes open. Stand there for 30 seconds. Not so hard to keep your balance, right? Now, do the same thing with your eyes closed. To me, the difference was amazing. I marvel every time my daughter is able to stand unassisted for a period of time.
One class per month the parent(s) have their own meeting. Therapists and volunteers come in to help our children with their activities to give us an opportunity to meet. Sometimes this is the only ìmeî time the parent(s) have during the week. This time is spent talkingÖ about an upcoming event, topic that is of particular interest, coping and stress management skills, or getting to know each other a little better.
My daughter also receives physical and occupational therapy through Delta Gamma Center as well as meetings with a speech therapist. Having therapists work through one organization and knowledgeable about working with a child with a visual impairment is a blessing! They are able to think outside of the box when it comes to being creative in helping my daughter learn and/or develop a new skill. Things typically taken for granted by fully sighted people, such as getting an infant to raise her head, have to be taught differently to a visually impaired child. I am grateful that Iíve been able to begin thinking outside the box as well. Our home is filled with love, laughter, and toys that make a lot of noise. Some of the items we play with arenít toys, or even made for people. Cat toys, dog toys, a feather duster, sponges, and cellophane wrapping paper are some of the items weíve adopted as toys.
With the support and encouragement from the entire staff at Delta Gamma Center my daughter and I have been able to have a normal life. The education I have received cannot possibly be described. I encourage - and expect - my daughter to develop as a typical child. There is nothing she cannot do. I push my child harder than many parents with fully sighted children, but I have to. She wouldnít be typically developing if we didnít. We must remain proactive in her development in order to keep her on target.
The next year will be filled with many changesÖa move to a new home in school district that will better meet my daughterís needs, services through Delta Gamma will be ending, and preparation for school to name just a few. Delta Gamma helps us identify what is important to keep my child developing, and provides resources to learn our rights regarding education and educational assistance. And they teach us to be advocates for our children.
Services through Delta Gamma stop when children turn three, at which point services are provided by the school system. You may think that it is not important for children to receive services until theyíre ready for school. It may be impossible for a child to catch up if a family waits until school age to begin services. A child learns things in the first few years of life that influence the rest of her life. Thanks to Delta Gamma my daughter has a great start.