Dining in the Dark event to support Cure Blindness Australia

What do blindfolds, dinner plates, and a bit of sparkle have in common?

Dining in the Dark Western Sydney.

This unique blindfold dining experience has been put together by Blaxland resident Danielle Verhoeven to raise funds for charity, Cure Blindness Australia.

Ms Verhoeven was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome while studying nursing 20 years ago. The condition affects hearing and causes Retinitis Pigmentosa. While she was initially told she would be blind by the time she was 30, Ms Verhoeven is now 40 with a young daughter and still works in the nursing field, with reasonable central vision.

A member from Cure Blindness Australia was with Ms Verhoeven at the hospital the day she was diagnosed, helping normalise a very abnormal day. The fundraiser is her way of repaying the support and kindness offered by the charity.

Conditions such as macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and usher syndrome are now the leading cause of low vision and blindness in the working ages population. Macular degeneration affects one in seven adults, RP oine in 3000 and usher syndrome is estimated to affect 600-800 Australians.

Guests at the fundraiser will be invited to wear glasses or a blindfold to simulate low or no vision while enjoying a three-course meal, and learning more about these conditions in a fun and supportive way.

World record holding "Fastest blindman on two wheels", Ben Felten, will be the guest speaker, sharing his experience of riding his bike in to the record books. Mr Felten has retinitis pigmentosa and is completely blind.

This event has been strongly supported by the Blue Mountains community with local businesses such as de Lumiere Photography, Pins on Lurline, DPM Computers and many more, providing items for prizes and auction.

A raffle, with a first prize of thermomix TM6 is being run with tickets on sale now until sold out, a maximum of 500 tickets are being sold, at $20 each.

Dining in the Dark Western Sydney will be held on October 19 at Penrith Panthers. Tickets are available through Eventbrite. For more information email: dininginthedarkwestsydney@gmail.com.