Professional Poker Players Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, First Lady of Poker Linda Johnson and Lexy Gavin (who is among the top three women poker players in the world) came together this spring to help raise money for people who are blind, visually impaired, disabled and Veteran communities at The Chicago Lighthouse’s “Raising the Stakes for Vision” virtual poker tournament.
Through their presence at The Chicago Lighthouse’s fifth annual event, these poker notables drew attention to the growing need for low vision treatment and rehabilitation. As the U.S. population ages, the number of people with visual impairment or blindness in the United States is expected to double by 2050, according to the National Eye Institute. The Chicago Lighthouse provides comprehensive low vision examinations and wraparound services to help people with low vision live confident, independent lives.
This year’s tournament had more than 160 players of all levels from all over the country, as well as a record-breaking number of women to go all-in for the chance to win big. One lucky winner took home the grand prize of $5,000 and the top three last women standing also won great prizes. The event raised more than $64,000 overall for the work performed by The Chicago Lighthouse. Jeffrey M. Jackson, Ph.D and Board Member Gary Rich co-chaired the event.
Founded in 1906 on Chicago’s West Side, The Chicago Lighthouse has been a pioneer in innovation across the areas of vision care, rehabilitation, education, employment and technology for over 100 years.
The Chicago Lighthouse, first named the Improvement Association for Blind People, was founded by a group of socially prominent Chicago women out of a growing concern for the future of the city’s blind community. Early activities included collecting donated food and clothing from area women’s clubs, as well as teaching employable skills like weaving and carpentry for permanent job attainment. Through two world wars and the worst economic depression in history, the organization continued to provide opportunities for employment, empowerment and independence to individuals facing life with vision loss.
Over the next several decades, The Lighthouse’s mission grew to include clinical vision care with the establishment of the first low vision rehabilitation clinic in the Midwest in the early 1950s. In 1955, The Lighthouse opened the doors of its new facility in Chicago’s Medical District, dedicated by world-renowned advocate for the deaf and blind Helen Keller.
Today, The Lighthouse has satellite low vision clinics throughout the Chicago area and has established a partnership with the Veterans Administration that has expanded the organization’s mission to include a growing demographic in need, Veterans. Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley called the Lighthouse one of the most “comprehensive social service agencies in the United States” given the diversity of programs and beneficiaries of Lighthouse services. The Lighthouse currently serves more than 67,000 people each year.
The Chicago Lighthouse is grateful for the generosity of those who sponsored “Raising the Stakes for Vision,” including ComEd, CSX, Pave Works, Freeborn & Peters LLP, Nesko, Clear Vision Ophthalmology, Abt Electronics, Poker Powher, and Poker League of Nations.
To learn more about The Chicago Lighthouse or to make a donation, visit chicagolighthouse.org.
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Ann Marie Scheidler is a freelance writer who lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and five children. She tends to be where her kids are, but if you can’t find her there, she’s proudly supporting Beacon Place as one of its newest board members. Beacon Place is a nonprofit organization that has changed the lives of 4,000 children and families in Waukegan. Their innovative programs take a whole child and family approach to education, enrichment and healthy lifestyles support.