Karin and Jay Hiller have been strong community supporters for many years, contributing their time and talents to many organizations throughout the area. But 27 years ago their strength was tested when their son, Kurt, was born with multiple birth defects and diagnosed as legally blind.
Kurt was hospitalized for the first 30 days of his life. After his release, the Hillers were referred to Vision Forward Association, then known as the Center for Blind & Visually Impaired Children, because of Kurt’s vision diagnosis.
“The first time we brought him in, he was three months old,” remember Karin and Jay, “and he did not like to be touched. Imagine our shock when one of the first things the therapist did was take his clothes off and massage him, explaining that for an infant without vision, touch was a very important part of socializing.”
Within a few short months, Kurt was reaching for bubbles, picking up toys and following a light with his eyes. At the age of eight months, Kurt underwent open heart surgery because his severe heart defects were preventing him from gaining weight. Unfortunately, Kurt died just hours after the surgery.
Although that was 27 years ago, the memories of Kurt are still near and dear to Karin and Jay. And so is Vision Forward.
“We feel that Vision Forward made a real difference in the short time we had with Kurt. They provided information, support and education, which was so important in caring for him during his short life,” states Karin.
The Hillers have generously supported Vision Forward’s mission in a variety of ways: serving as a board member, organizing fundraisers, hosting children and their families for picnics at Lake Beulah, and connecting people and resources to Vision Forward’s mission. Karin continues to volunteer in the Children’s Program, helping young children gain the skills they need to succeed in school and life.
Karin and Jay even found time to serve as chairs of the 2014 Feast for the Senses, and their company, Hiller Ford, was the event’s Presenting Sponsor.
“Supporting Vision Forward will always be a priority for us – not only because of the impact it had on us and our family, but also because we believe so strongly in its mission and quality programs. Vision Forward’s hands-on, personal services can make such a difference in the lives of individuals and families dealing with vision loss.”
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