Family raising funds for blindness research

SALEM – A local family trying to raise funds for a cure for retinal blindness is looking for area bidders with quarters to spare.

Kim Hoffman of Eyes for Olivia said tickets are still available for the Quarter Auction set for May 17 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church fellowship hall. A $5 pre-sale ticket gets an adult admission and one bidding paddle to vie for more than 70 donated prizes. No tickets will be sold at the door.

She explained that prizes are given a value based on quarters, such as one quarter for a prize valued at up to $19.99 or two quarters for something $20 to $39.99, on up to four quarters. When a prize is held up, anyone who wants to bid on the item holds up their paddle and all the quarters are collected. Then a paddle number is drawn for the prize.

Bidders are asked to bring their own quarters. A caller who has participated in a Quarter Auction before is volunteering her time for the event.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the auction begins at 7 p.m., with pizza, hot dogs, popcorn and beverages such as water, pop and coffee available for purchase. The church congregation is being asked to donate baked goods which will also be offered for purchase.

To get tickets, call the Emmanual Lutheran Church office at 330-332-5042 or email Hoffman at

Hoffman and her husband Mike joined a parent group known as the Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation shortly after their daughter Oliva was diagnosed with a very rare degenerative retinal disease at age 4.

The 7-year-old who attends Buckeye Elementary School in Salem has what’s called Leber’s Congenital Amarousis (LCA), which affects only 3,000 people nationwide. In her case, the specific gene causing her condition, known as CRB1, makes up only 10 percent of that number. There’s no cure and the disease eventually causes blindness.

Since then, the Hoffmans have been planning events to raise money for the foundation as a means to pay for more research for a cure. They’ve set up a website for Olivia at and a Facebook page at Eyes for Olivia.

Hoffman said Olivia’s condition remains good so far. She has problems with depth perception and low-light situations but she’s still okay. The Hoffmans have two other children, Sarah and Sean.

“The community support has been wonderful,” she said.

In recent months, Olivia’s school held a fundraiser and the Salem Country Club hosted a 5K run.

Plans are continuing for the CRBF Scrabble Run and Carnival for a Cure on Sept. 22 at Waterworth Memorial Park. Hoffman said a committee is being formed and anyone interested in helping out can email her at

Partipants can ride bikes or walk through 1.5 miles of scenic paths and trails collecting scrabble pieces along the way and winning prizes for the words they can form at the end of the ride/walk. Pre-registration is $15 for an individual and $40 for a family, with pre-registrants (three in a family) receiving a T-shirt, wristband and scrabble tile with early registration by Aug. 15.

Check-in will begin at 12:30 at the main pavilion off of Superior Avenue, with bikes taking off at 2 p.m. and walkers leaving at 2:15 p.m. After the run, there will be other games and activities. For more details or to download forms for the event, visit the website at

To learn more about the Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation, visit the website at

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at