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Ledyard nonprofit donates $72,000 to fight inherited retinal diseases

Ledyard — Sofia Sees Hope, a locally based nonprofit, will donate $72,000 to support research into treatments for inherited retinal diseases and to provide free access to genetic testing for those with IRDs.

The coronavirus pandemic last year forced the organization to cancel its main fundraising event, Dinner in the Dark, a well-attended dinner that has raised nearly $200,000 in previous years.

“We’re grateful that we still had a pretty successful year,” Laura Manfre, the organization’s co-founder and board president, said in a news release. “The global pandemic made fundraising challenging for all nonprofits, but we were able to pivot with the help of our terrific team, made up of staff, volunteers and our board of directors. This allowed us to continue our commitment to funding research into treatments for inherited retinal disease.”

Sofia Sees Hope provides its support through the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the world’s leading private funding source for retinal degenerative disease research.

Sofia Sees Hope was founded in 2014 by Manfre, Charles Priebe and Elisse Rosen. Manfre’s and Priebe’s daughter Sofia has Leber congenital amaurosis, a rare genetic retinal condition characterized by severe vision loss at birth and eventual total blindness.



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