Paying it forward one wish at a time
(Photo: Pope Francis blessed Lizzy Myers' eyes during a family trip to Rome.)
Steven and Christine Myers created the Visual Bucket List Foundation to provide experiences for children who have a visual impairment diagnosis. These opportunities are intended to be a special visual memory to be remembered for the rest of their lives when their vision fails. Each wish is unique based on a child’s personal visual bucket list and their capabilities.
Their daughter, Lizzy, was diagnosed at the age of five with Usher Syndrome 2A. Usher Syndrome is the leading cause of deaf-blindness. When they received the diagnosis, they created a “visual bucket list” for Lizzy.
Lizzy was granted a trip to Istanbul and Rome where she was blessed by Pope Francis and given a once-in-a-lifetime trip. The gift was so grand, that Christine and Steven felt compelled to pass along their gift to whatever extent they could and provide lasting memories for children in a similar position as their daughter.
Since its inception, the VBLF has raised over $335,000 and has granted 15 wishes. The wishes have ranged from night flights to view Christmas lights from the sky over Mansfield to a real dinosaur dig in South Dakota.
Recently, the VBLF Board of Directors decided to set up an endowed fund at the Foundation.
Steven said the new fund will provide the organization with a diversified revenue stream. Currently, they rely on donations and fundraisers to pay for the children’s wishes. Christine and Steven have organized many fundraisers over the past eight years including Purse Bingo and Dining in the Dark.
“We trust the Foundation with our investment in an endowed fund,” said Steven.
“We will utilize the fund as a building block to help us grow. My hope is to become an international organization helping families from around the world.”
Steven and Christine credited RCF President Brady Groves with their early success because he provided support and advice. The Foundation continues to support VBLF and other nonprofits through the Osborne Meese Academy, a nonprofit capacity-building program, and Richland Gives, an online giving event.
This year, VBLF hired its first paid employee, Holly Dawson. She is the Director of Community Relations and Marketing. She most recently worked for Junior Achievement and held various roles, including Program Manager, Senior District Manager, Area Director, Development Officer, and Director of Development.
To learn more about the Visual Bucket List Foundation go to https://thevblf.com/
Anyone can donate to the VBLF fund; click the donate button select the fund from the drop-down box, or write a check payable to the Richland County Foundation and note the fund on the memo line.