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Last year, despite challenges from the pandemic we still served over 700 children. We need your help to continue our critical work to make a difference in the lives of children with vision loss!

We need our VIPS supporters help more than ever during this uniquely challenging time with the gift of a new donation or pledge, or continuing your existing your support. If you are not a monthly donor--now would be a great time to initiate a monthly gift. The families we serve depend on our teachers and we depend on you to help us in our critical mission to provide early intervention to every child with blindness or low vision.

Learn more about how VIPS is moving forward with our services in spite of COVID-19.

Elijah's Determination Overcomes Hurdles of Ocular Albinism

Elijah's Determination Overcomes Hurdles of Ocular Albinism

Elijah was first seen by our ophthalmologist in late February 2013. We noticed that his left eye was turning inward and felt it was necessary to have him evaluated. It was at the first appointment that he was diagnosed with Ocular Albinism, Strabismus (the turning in of his left eye) and Nystagmus. So many things happened so early in his life that it seemed like just another obstacle our beautiful boy was going to have to overcome. As we watched him grow and learn, it started to become more apparent that he wasn’t just overcoming these difficulties but rather exceeding every milestone we were told he may never meet.

Elijah dressed as Iron Man!

To say we have done it alone couldn’t be further from the truth. Through his journey we have encountered so many incredible people. We started working with First Steps while Eli was still an infant. He would get a visit at home or daycare, working with him on daily activities as well as informing us how we could help him thrive. When he was old enough, Elijah phased into the VIPS preschool. Their program has helped prepare him for any hindrances he will face and continues to encourage his ability to do things on his own. Above everything else, we are amazed by the love and support he receives on a daily basis from his teachers, volunteers and other parents in our community.

At this point Elijah is almost 4 years old. His diagnosis has not held him back in the least. Eli is an active, funny, charming and incredibly loving little boy. Most parents will tell you that they want their child to be “just like every other kid.” The reality is that Eli is not. He is stronger. He is more determined. He is set apart from other kids his age not because of what he faces but how he perseveres and will continue to do so. I could keep bragging about our son but the main point of all of this is how special we feel that he is ours and we are his.

Alex Ruidiaz
Elijah’s Father

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