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Nov 29, 2022  Week: 48

Blog

Oct 27, 2022
Beacon Impatiens Donates to 2022 Charities for Low Vision

Beacon has done it again! Our global seed sales of Beacon Impatiens have made it possible to support a worthy cause with a total donation of over $81,000.00 (USD). The cheques have been delivered, and here’s how we celebrated.

Balloons and signage to celebrate Beacon Impatiens

Spectrios Institute for Low Vision

On Oct. 18, PanAmerican Seed hosted Spectrios Institute for Low Vision at its West Chicago offices to celebrate its support of this amazing organisation. Spectrios was chosen as our 2022 North American Charity. In a moving ceremony with attendees that included members of the PanAmerican Seed team, as well as former Elburn Facility Manager Mark Chalmers, employees from Spectrios received a portion of the proceeds from the sales of Beacon® Impatiens in the form of a giant cheque. We are so proud to be honouring such an important charitable organisation.

PanAmerican Seed team members present a cheque to employees of Spectrios

Making this donation extra special was when Mark Chalmers shared his story to the group. He expressed his difficult road fighting low vision issues and macular degeneration starting in his ‘40s. By the time he reached 55 years old, both of his eyes were completely affected by macular dystrophy. Imagining what his reality would be, including not being able to drive anymore or reading a computer, was devastating. It was during this time, he found Spectrios Institute for Low Vision in Wheaton, IL. It was there that he became empowered by how they supported his visual capabilities and independence through the use of technology, prescriptive tools and rehab.

“The end result is that I don’t have central vision, whatever I look at disappears. But when I went to Spectrios, I realised no matter how bad my eyes were going to get, there was going to be a way I was going to see,” Chalmers said. “Being around people who were coping, and living and having successful careers was good motivation for me. And now I work there helping people who had the same struggles that I did and it’s a real joy to do that!”

Mimi Bajagich, Director, Development at Spectrios, shared what it meant for them and the people they help every day. “We treat the whole person, so they understand that life continues – just in a different way. And with such great support and the technology that’s available, we are able to do this through amazing campaigns like Beacon Impatiens.”

Macular Society in the UK

At PanAmerican Seed, our goal is to provide support, as well as build awareness for lesser-known charities such as Spectrios. Across the ocean, we were also able to give back to Macular Society in the United Kingdom, which also received a donation on behalf of PanAmerican Seed and Beacon Impatiens. 

A cheque was presented to Macular Society in the UK at the Ball Colegrave facility, Sept. 16. Featured in the photo is John Critchlow, former group leader of the Banbury group, who has macular disease. He was joined by his wife Lynda; as well as Sarah Jarman, Macular Society’s Head of Partnerships; and Jeroen Star, PanAmerican Seed European Sales Manager.

Last spring, PanAmerican Seed sent out Seed bags to Macular Society. All group leaders received a little bag and grew their own Beacon. Colegrave has always been our major supporter in Beacon overseas and they hosted our group for this special donation.

“It was great to meet Jeroen and Stuart, along with John and Lynda, and, of course, to accept the fantastic cheque. It is such a generous donation,” said Sarah Jarman of Macular Society. “To give you an idea of what it means in practice, it means we could deliver professional counselling to 100 people who are struggling to come to terms with losing their sight or we could provide vital information and support to over 2,500 people through our Advice and Information Service, so it really will make such a difference to people’s lives. We also fund research to help develop treatments for macular disease and your support could fund the first year of a research project which is aiming to do this.”

A new Beacon Impatiens charity will be announced soon for the 2023 sales season. Be on the lookout for the announcement and for ways to promote and contribute to this give-back campaign.

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