Fred Lee’s Social Network: Comic Vision

Comic vision

FAR SIGHTED: After learning her five-year-old son Gavin was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease and that there was little that could be done, Burlington, Ont., mom Ann Morrison made it her life’s work to raise awareness and fundraise for vision research. Enlisting her comic friend Meg Soper they hosted their first Comic Vision benefit in 1999 to raise money for Foundation Fighting Blindness in hopes of finding a cure for Retinitis Pigmentosa. The inaugural comedy night with family and friends raised $7,500.

Morrison took the idea on the road, and eventually Comic Vision became a national initiative. Travelling coast to coast with the country’s funniest people, Morrison has invited thousands to share the laughter and see the hope. Since its humble beginnings, more than $9 million has been raised to help the 1.5 million Canadians who are blind or partially sighted and the more than 6.5 million Canadians who have an eye disease that puts them at risk of vision loss.

Morrison has traversed the country and attended every single event, spreading the word and championing sight saving research. She recently landed in Vancouver for her 100th Comic Vision. Once again supporters packed the Imperial Lounge for the night of comedy and philanthropy.

Before funnymen Charlie Demers and Graham Clark took to the stage, yours truly served as master of ceremonies and called the auction of one-of-a-kind items and experiences. A Lazy Gourmet catered dinner fetched the night’s top bid, sold twice. The prized cocktail party would contribute to a $100,000 haul for the recently renamed charity Fighting Blindness Canada.

Laughing it up at Fighting Blindness Canada’s Comic Vision were Kendle Rowlands, Paralympian Donovan Tildesley and Connor Jones. Photo: Fred Lee.  Fred Lee / PNG
Ophthalmologist Dr. Briar Sexton and The Lazy Gourmet’s Shannon Boudreau were among the major donors who helped realize $100,000 for sight saving research. Photo: Fred Lee.  Fred Lee / PNG
Vancouver comics Graham Clark and Charlie Demers headlined the 2019 Comic Vision benefit staged at the Imperial Lounge. Photo: Fred Lee.  Fred Lee / PNG
VISION QUEST: Event chair Rob Simmons, Comic Vision founder Ann Morrison and Fighting Blindness Canada chair Doug Earle were all smiles following the successful night of laughs and fundraising. Photo: Fred Lee.  Fred Lee / PNG
Escorted by her husband Allen Challmie, Heather Challmie, the evening’s special guest shared her journey living Retinitis Pigmentosa, which spurred giving to provide hope for millions at risk of vision loss. Photo: Fred Lee.  Fred Lee / PNG