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Foundation Fighting Blindness To Honor Marty Irving & Walt Havenstein at NoVA Dining in the Dark | Events

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Foundation Fighting Blindness To Honor Marty Irving & Walt Havenstein at NoVA Dining in the Dark
Events, Health
Foundation Fighting Blindness To Honor Marty Irving & Walt Havenstein at NoVA Dining in the Dark

Foundation Fighting Blindness To Honor Tysons Corner Innovator, Marty Irving, and SAIC CEO, Walt Havenstein, at Northern Virginia Dining in the Dark To Benefit Sight-Saving Research

McLean, VA — The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a national nonprofit that drives vision-saving research, will honor Irving Interests President and CEO Marty Irving, and Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) [NYSE: SAI] CEO Walt Havenstein, with Visionary Awards at the 3rd Annual Northern Virginia Dining in the Dark. The unique event will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. Proceeds will benefit the Foundation’s research efforts toward treatments and cures for blinding retinal degenerative diseases that affect more than 10 million Americans, young and old.

Dining in the Dark is a distinctive sensory awareness experience in which guests participate in an unforgettable dining adventure, in complete darkness. For 30 minutes, attendees will enjoy their entrée using only their senses of smell, sound, taste, and touch, to get a glimpse into the lives of the blind. Visually impaired servers, who are trained specifically for the dinner to use a system of ropes and stanchions, will help guests navigate through this new culinary journey. Created in Germany, Dining in the Dark is a one-of-a kind concept that has been enjoyed by many people across Europe before moving to America in 2005.

“We’re thrilled to recognize the achievements of two visionary industry leaders as we raise awareness about the challenges people who are coping with blinding diseases face on a daily basis,” said Dinner Chair Davida Luehrs, who is legally blind due to retinitis pigmentosa (RP). This genetic disease, which also affects Luehrs’ college-aged daughter, is characterized by night blindness and a progressive loss of peripheral vision. “The Dining in the Dark experience is unforgettable and incredibly valuable as the Foundation Fighting Blindness makes significant progress in advancing cutting-edge research that will save and restore sight.”

Fondly known as the ‘Mayor of Tysons Corner,’ Irving has been involved with the Foundation for almost 20 years as part of the DC Fantasy Hockey fundraising event. His compassion for the blind started at an early age when he accompanied his mother to her workplace: the Maryland Workshop for the Blind. Now president and CEO of McLean-based Irving Interests, the well-known developer was integral in transforming Tysons Corner into the thriving community it is today.

Havenstein is CEO of SAIC, a FORTUNE 500® scientific, engineering, and technology applications company that uses its deep domain knowledge to solve problems of vital importance to the nation and the world, in national security, energy and environment, health and cybersecurity. His esteemed career in the defense industry has also included senior leadership roles at BAE Systems, Inc. and Raytheon. Havenstein served on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1971 to 1983 and completed his career in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1999, retiring as a colonel.

Individual tickets for Dining in the Dark are $500 and sponsorships begin at $2,500. Tickets are availabe online here. Or for sponsorship information, contact Matt Musgrove at MMusgrove@FightBlindness.org or (410) 423-0623. To RSVP as a member of the media and all related inquiries, contact Allie Gebhardt at 410-423-0643 or AGebhardt@FightBlindness.org.

What:  Northern Virginia Dining in the Dark

Where:  Ritz-Carlton  :::  1700 Tysons Boulevard  :::  McLean, VA 22102

When:  Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011  :::  6-7 p.m. Reception  :::  7-9:30 p.m. Dinner & Awards

About Foundation Fighting Blindness

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is a national nonprofit driving blindness research that will lead to preventions, treatments and cures for retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases that affect more than 10 million Americans. In its 40-year history, the Foundation has raised more than $425 million as the leading non-governmental funder of retinal research. With a network of 50 chapters, the Foundation also provides free disease information and low vision resources to affected individuals and families. Most recently, a breakthrough Foundation-funded study using gene therapy restored some vision in children and young adults who were previously blind, paving the way for using this method to treat a wide variety of retinal degenerative diseases, and proving a cure is in sight.

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