Brothers, with CRB1 Defect, Beat Blindness with Biking Events

February 15, 2013

Michael and Mitchell are blind due to the CRB1 gene of degenerative retinal disease (Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis, Retinitis Pigmentosa or cone-rod dystrophy). Although they have less than 10% of the vision that a “regularly sighted” person has, they give every day 100%… and then some!

Michael is the starting center for his football team and is also an actor, competitive swimmer, wrestler, honor student and the keyboardist in a popular rock band. Mitchell is also a wrestler, competitive swimmer and honor student. And he loves to play baseball! Both boys are national award-winning Braille competitors. Although the boys are accomplishing so much, Michael dreams of the day he can see his teammates’ faces and play quarterback; Mitchell dreams of the day he can be a soccer goalie and a first baseman.

Both boys dream of driving a car when they turn 16. But they aren’t just dreaming about sight: they are fundraising for it! They started a kids’ fundraiser two years ago to raise money for a research fund their parents co-founded with other families affected by the same blindness, the Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation (CRBF). Michael and Mitchell’s kids’ biking event, Bike the Basin is the leading fundraiser for the CRBF, and it is a favorite for kids all around their hometown! It is such a fun event that other CRBF families are hosting similar kids’ biking fundraisers in their own towns now!

Michael, Mitchell and all of the CRB1 families believe that working together accelerates the mission of sight. Their motto is “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” (Helen Keller)

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