2024 Visionary Luncheon
Retina Foundation’s Visionary Luncheon Celebrates Life‑Changing Advancements for Innovative Research and Vision Treatment
The Retina Foundation of the Southwest, a world-class medical research organization committed to vision loss prevention and sight restoration, celebrated its success in accelerating treatment efforts during its annual Visionary Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole on May 18.
The Retina Foundation raised a record-breaking $717,000. Visionary Luncheon Chairs Steve and Barb Durham noted that over $127,000 was raised live during the luncheon’s mission moment alone. Douglas D. Hawthorne served as the Honorary Chair.
“At the Retina Foundation, we are dedicated to finding solutions for retinal diseases and conditions that rob people of their sight, their independence, and their quality of life. Our research and clinical trials are changing lives for patients today and for generations to come,” said Chief Executive and Medical Officer Karl Csaky, MD, Ph.D.
After sharing the latest research accomplishments, Dr. Csaky introduced the latest additions to the renowned Retina Foundation staff, Srinivasa Sripathi, Ph.D., and Mark Pennesi, MD, Ph.D. Dr. Sripathi will lead the new Henderson Ocular Stem Cell Laboratory dedicated to finding solutions for patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and inherited retinal diseases through personalized medicine. Dr. Csaky thanked Grant and Jill Henderson for their generous $1 million grant to help fund the lab.
Dr. Pennesi will join David Birch, Ph.D., on the Foundation’s mission to change the trajectory of inherited retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa. Jenny Schisler, who currently receives treatment for the disease, and her family shared their story of the challenges of living with the condition and how working with researchers at the Retina Foundation has given them hope.
“Jenny’s story and stories like hers reinforce our commitment to advancing research and providing hope backed by science,” said Dr. Csaky in his closing remarks. “Today has been a true testament to the power of collaboration that drives change in innovative vision research. Together we will reach our destination.”
Libby Hunt Allred presented the Hunt Family Visionary Award to Ellen Ray, CEO of the Austin-based Still Water Foundation, for the organization’s significant philanthropic impact across Texas, including their support of the Retina Foundation’s patented, innovative ocular drug delivery device that offers a low-risk treatment for AMD.
Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert gave the keynote address and praised the Retina Foundation’s unique patient-centric approach to finding solutions for retinal diseases. He also noted the incredible growth Dallas is experiencing in the life science industry and the importance of the Foundation’s vital role in the future of public health.
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