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Bids fight blindness

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Wearing special goggles simulating age-related macular degeneration, 12-year-old Tylor Rodgers learns about life with blurred central vision at the seventh annual Inuvik Lions Club TV Auction, last Sunday.

Chris Hunsley
Northern News Services

Inuvik (June 13/05) - Scoring a good deal provided a windfall for two charities combatting blindness and visual impairment, Sunday.

Close to $11,000 was raised at the seventh annual Lions Club TV Auction, which allowed shoppers from around the area to call in from 1-5 p.m. and bid on 85 donated objects being shown on channel 13.

"It's literally a bit of everything and anything," said Vicky Boudreau, a Lions Club member.

Items included everything from children's games and toys to two plane tickets to Edmonton. Fur coats and original oil paintings have graced the auctioneer's block in years past.

All funds will be split equally between the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and Ride for Sight.

"It's what we've done every year," said Boudreau.

Ride for Sight is comprised of Canadian motorcyclists who've launched the largest fundraising project for vision research in the world.

More need in future

The events provide funds for services to the 180 blind and visually impaired residents of the North, said Norma Jean Jarvis, regional manager for the CNIB, NWT/Nunavut region.

"In the future the need will only increase."

Age-related macular degeneration is becoming more prevalent.

"More and more elders have this type of low vision," said Jarvis, who noted one in nine over the age of 60 and a quarter of those aged 75 or over are affected.

Throughout the auction, Jarvis demonstrated how digital talking books work and used special goggles to show what a visually impaired life is like.

The total donations will be down from previous years, but Lions member Bev Garven chalked that up to having approximately 20 per cent fewer items on sale this year.

"Everything that we can do is a good thing so we're always glad to take what we can get."