The Illumination Tour is a unique distribution program that will bring the inspiring story of Gordon Gund to seven cities across the U.S.
Gund is a prominent American businessman, philanthropist, sports team owner and family man who went blind at age 30 due to a genetic disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. A bout with depression followed, but Gund eventually came to realize that blindness - while robbing him of one aspect of his life - also enabled him to see things that no one else could see. In 1971 - one year after going blind - Gordon and his wife Lulie, along with others, created the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB).
At the time, science offered little hope. So Gordon and Lulie set out to create an entire field of research nearly from scratch. They did so by aggressively recruiting scientists and funding experimental research. After decades of setbacks, FFB researchers made a major breakthrough in 2006, and were cleared to conduct clinical trials.
Their first patient, Yannick Duwe, a now 17-year-old Belgian boy, became the first person to have his vision restored through gene therapy.
Yannick has since gained a kind of independence that would not have been possible before. He will attend University next year after graduating at the top of his class.
After 45 years, the journey of Gordon and Lulie Gund to find a cure for blindness can only be described as an act of perseverance and love.
Gund's story will be presented to audiences through an 18-minute film, "The Illumination," along with live appearances by Gordon and Lulie Gund. This will serve as the capstone of specially-curated 2-hour programs in seven cities across the country that will also include additional speakers and films. Each program will be hosted by the author and speaker Kelly Corrigan.
The aim of the tour is to engage a wide audience and stimulate a values-based conversation about human achievement and scientific possibility.