Ridgeite heads up VisionWalk team at CitiField

April 9, 2014 Editorial Staff
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After helping the Foundation Fighting Blindness to reach its $400,000 goal last year, Bay Ridge-based Team Donza will be back at the eighth annual New York City VisionWalk this year.

Nearly 14 years ago, Donna Russo, captain of Team Donza, was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, an eye disease where there is damage to the retina. It causes night-blindness and poor depth perception and slowly robs its victims of peripheral vision. In some cases, a person may lose his or her vision completely.

The diagnosis is one reason why Russo got involved with the Foundation Fighting Blindness and the New York City VisionWalk. Each year, she travels throughout Brooklyn, on foot, with her flyers, trying to raise awareness about the organization, about retinal diseases and also raising money to help fund the necessary research to find cures and treatments for everyone affected.

Central Park has hosted the event in the past. This year, however, a conflict resulted in VisionWalk finding a new venue: CitiField on Saturday, May 3. The walk will start at 9 a.m. sharp. In addition to the walk, CitiField will provide food, fun and games for all.

As a die-hard New York Mets fan, Russo – who has participated in VisionWalk for five years — is extremely excited about this year’s walk. The route will be on the playing field, around the warning track and the participants will be able to check out the dugouts as well.

Russo used to walk alongside her father, who died last year, making this the second walk without him. “I miss him; he always encouraged me in the time I got involved,” said Russo. She said that her father would tell everyone about the walk. “I know he would’ve loved walking in CitiField,” said Russo.

With all the money that has been raised, and the research and developments, Russo is more hopeful that one day R.P. will go away. Last year, she said, VisionWalk had a very large crowd. She hopes that they can do that again this year.

Russo concluded, “There could be a cure for me, and people younger than me, in the future.”

You can help by joining or contributing to Team Donza; register on VisionWalk’s website or contact Katie Van Benschoten at 212-244-1470.

For further information on VisionWalk and Retinitis Pigmentosa, go to http://bit.ly/1kkEMKj.

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