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Shop Smiles.Amazon and donate to the UCB!

Christmas and the Holidays are approaching and you will be busy shopping for gifts, decorations, and more. By shopping at smile.amazon.com, Utah Council of the Blind can increase its AmazonSmile donations. So Shop smile.amazon.com on Amazon Smiles and Amazon will donate to the UCB. Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Utah Council Of The Blind whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.

Shop for everyone on your gift list this holiday at smile.amazon.com and Amazon donates to Utah Council of the Blind.

If you shop at amazon.com, just use the www.smile.amazon.com web address, where you have the opportunity to select a charity to support with your purchases. Amazon then contributes a small percentage of most of your purchase to the charity of your choice. The easiest way to set the UCB as your charity of choice is as follows:

a blind woman receives the gift of sight with a bionic eye

The Gift of Sight: Montreal Surgeon Implants Bionic Eye in Blind Woman:

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Sandra Cassell embraced her 2-year-old son, Evan, as he climbed into her lap at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Thursday morning. He peered into her eyes and she stared back at him, smiling with the boundless love of a proud mother. That simple exchange of glances would have been impossible almost a year ago. For the past 16 years, a rare eye disease -retinitis pigmentosa -slowly robbed the Lachine resident of her eyesight to the point where she needed a white cane to cross the street. But on Feb. 8, a medical team at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital succeeded in partially restoring Cassell's vision by implanting a prosthesis in her left retina, turning it into a bionic eye. The four-hour operation, led by eye surgeon Flavio Rezende, represents a medical first in Quebec.

"I never thought I'd be able to see again," the 42-year-old social worker said. "But now I can see. I see light, I see contrasts of different things, in black, in white and grey. It's like an ultrasound picture."

Where once Cassell needed to slide her cane in front of her when crossing the street, she can now make out the white stripes of the crosswalk. Where once she was unable to see her son running toward her, she can now hold out her arms to pick him up.
"My hope for the future -because Dr. Rezende has spoken about future innovation -is that the next generation (of technology) will be in color, in high definition and will have facial recognition, which I don't have."

There is no cure for retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disorder affecting about 1.2 million people around the world. Until her operation, Cassell had to rely totally on the skills she acquired at the former Montreal Association for the Blind, now part of the MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Center. Even after the operation, Cassell had to learn to see again with the help of therapists at the Institute Nazareth Louis-Braille.

"It's very challenging, in terms of the surgical technique and the rehabilitation of the patient," Rezende explained in an interview after Thursday's news conference. "A patient who has been in the dark for years, for them to understand and relearn how to see in a different way -in a digital environment, if you will -is nothing but challenging."

Still, it has all been worth it, for both the patient and the medical team, Rezende insisted. "This innovative technology gives hope to people with vision loss caused by degenerative diseases of the retina," he added. "We are proud to be part of this revolution."

The bionic eye was developed by Second Sight of California. The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System requires a person with severe retinitis pigmentosa to wear special glasses with a camera on the bridge. The video images taken by the camera are processed by a smartphone-sized computer worn around the waist. The images are then transmitted wire-lessly to the eye implant, which is a tiny electrode array that looks like a computer chip that is embedded in the retina. The electrode array bypasses the dead cells of the retina for ones that are still active, and those cells convert the pulses into signals for the brain.
At a cost of $150,000, the prosthesis will not be made available for everyone with vision problems. Only those patients with profound retinal dystrophy (which includes retinitis pigmentosa) will be eligible for the implant.

The Utah Council of the Blind, also known as UCB, is a membership organization made up primarily of blind and visually impaired individuals who seek to improve the lives of people with various degrees of vision loss. We are a state affiliate of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), which gives us a national voice, yet allows us to be independent in creating our own goals, programs, along with keeping and using donations within the State of Utah. The UCB is recognized by the IRS as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, which allows donations to our organization to be tax deductible. Our members pay a small annual fee, but we primarily depend on grants, private donations, and small fundraising events throughout the year to provide the funding for our many programs and activities.

Our organization uses over 90% of all income solely for our programs, with less than 10% spent on administrative costs. With that in mind, in order to keep our administration costs low, all of our board members and our executive director work on a volunteer basis. We also have a large need for volunteers to complete various tasks, from office work, driving, reading mail, helping with getting large mailings ready to send, and soliciting donations to assist with setting-up, running, and taking down of activities.

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  • terrilynnepomeroy.tinaterry.leslie.linda.vicki.sandy.cordie.anna and aunilie
  • chris green
  • easter egg hunt
  • easter 2017
  • easter 2017
  • easter egg hunt 2017
  • easter egg hunt
  • enjoying the easter egg hunt
  • park city conference
  • jenny shultz thompson and romona lee
  • leslie.erin nightingale.anna jeffery
  • leslie
  • looking at the assistive technology devices
  • looking at the devices at the technology conference
  • one of the tables at the assistive technology conference
  • park city conference
  • park city conference_0
  • romona rice speaking at the conference
  • SeaQuest Aqaurium Tour
  • SeaQuest Aquarium Exhibit booth
  • Seaquest Aquarium interactive exhibits
  • SeaQuest Aquarium Meeting a mermaid
  • SeaQuest Aquarium presentation
  • SeaQuest Aquarium shaking hands with a mermaid
  • technology conference
  • the park city conference
  • the hathaways at the park city conference
  • the park city conference events
  • tina terry
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Ways to give to the Utah Council of the Blind


If you shop at amazon.com, just use the www.smile.amazon.com web address, where you have the opportunity to select a charity to support with your purchases. Amazon then contributes a small percentage of most of your purchase to the charity of your choice. The easiest way to set the UCB as your charity of choice is as follows:

Smith's Rewards

First, you must have a Smith's rewards card. If you do not have this card, ask for one at a checkout or service desk when you are at Smith's. For those of you who use your rewards cards to earn gasoline discounts, be aware that the Community Rewards do not affect those discounts at all. You will still be able to accumulate fuel points as before.

Second, you must have registered the card online. To do this, go to https://www.smithsfoodanddrug.com, follow the link to register and fill out the form with your email address, a password you create, your home store, etc.
To assign the UCB as your charitable organization:

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If you want to be a volunteer, please contact us at: (801) 299-0670

You can also download and print the Volunteer form but you must contact us before you can volunteer. All volunteers must be screened and approved before they can participate.

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