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Foundation Fights In The Dark

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By Stephanie Kaye

The lights went out at a recent fundraiser. But that was all part of the plan. It was pitch black at the Ritz Carlton in Tyson's. But that's just the atmosphere volunteer Donna Burke Tehaan was going for. "People can get an idea of what it is really like for people low vision or blindness, what they endure day after day."

This is "Dining in the Dark," a movement that first started as a way to savor food without seeing it. The Foundation Fighting Blindness is putting the gimmick to good use as a fundraiser. Jody Kelly is co-chair of the event. "Sometimes they talk about what they've had to eat. It was served in the dark, so they don't really know what they were eating. 'Those carrots were really tasty.' 'What carrots? I didn't have carrots!'"

FFB was founded in Baltimore in 1971. Bill Schmidt is the group's CEO. "With the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, the Food & Drug Administration, it's very important for us to have relationships with both those government agencies as we try to produce treatments for those who need them."

This is the first time "Dining in the Dark" has been used to raise awareness and money in the D.C. Metro area. An a number of participants say they hope they'll be seeing more.

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