Dining in the Dark: Hope for a 7 year old boy

8:37 AM, May 24, 2010   |    comments
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By Mike Bush

(KSDK)-On little league fields across the country, there are dreams as far as the eye can see.

7 year old Jack Morris from Ballwin, MO would like one day, to be a major leaguer.

"Baseball is probably his favorite sport, " says his mom Leslie Morris.

The odds are against him of course and as it turns out, Jack's entire future is very much out of focus.


When he was born, he was the light in his parents heart.


"I thought he was the perfect baby, "  smiles Leslie.


He was strong and sturdy although a bit clumsier than most

little boys.


"He would stumble over curbs a little more than we thought would be normal, " says Jack's dad, Jason Morris.


Then one day about three years ago, Jack and his dad crafted a glow-in-the-dark art project and went into the bathroom to take a look.


"We closed the door, " recalled Jason, "And turned the light off and there's the ship glowing brightly and I said Jack isn't that great and he said what?"


Several doctors and many tests later, the Morris' got devastating news. Jack was diagnosed with Retinitis-Pigmentosa.


"And I walked up the stairs into our bedroom and we just sobbed, " remembered Leslie.


RP is a degenerative disease and there is no cure. 


"The retina in the back of the eye that receives light and sends information to the brain doesn't function right, " explains Jack's doctor, Dr. Milam Brantley of the Barnes Retina Institute.


"The worst case scenario you lose all sight. In may cases you're left with essentially looking through a straw, " adds Jason.


Jack knows he has an eye disease but he hasn't let it stop him.


"He is sweet. Just as sweet as can be, " says Leslie.


In addition to playing baseball and other sports, he's also learning to play guitar.


"If we could stop time right now, I would, " says Jason, trying to hold back tears. "Because he's a happy kid."


But hope is visible. Because of Jack, Jason Morris became President of the local chapter of the Foundation for Fighting Blindness.


"There will come a day when retinal degenerative disease is entirely treatable, " he says. "Entirely."


Their recent fundraiser called was called "Dining in the Dark".


"We turned out the lights completely during dinner so people could have some time experiencing what it's like not to have vision, " explained Jason.


The dinner raised more than $100,000.


The money will be used to speed up promising treatments like

gene therapy.


"Within the next few years. We always like to say within the next 5 to 10 years, we're going to be having something that can treat Jack's condition specifically, " says Dr. Brantley.


Staring down challenges sometimes gives you a new way of

looking at things.  With appreciation.



"That he is a normal 7 year old boy, " says Leslie. "That he's playing all the sports he wants to play. That he's excelling in school.  That each day is precious and it is a gift."


So the Morris' take one day at time knowing that the future is never lost when people have vision.


"There's a lot of reason for hope, " says Jason.


For more information you can contact the Foundation for Fighting Blindness at their website: http://www.blindness.org








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