Tracy Hammond had his first eye surgery when he was just three weeks old and by the time he turned six, there had been two dozen more surgeries.
Add to that a lifelong list of daily medications and scores more procedures and surgeries. It’s a lot to endure, and yet when Tracy, now 39, talks about his vision struggles, he remains upbeat and optimistic because he knows researchers are working on better treatments and a cure for glaucoma.
“I was born in 1976,” says Tracy, who has congenital glaucoma. “If I had been born 10 or 20 years earlier, I might not have had any vision. But because the technology keeps improving, I have some sight.”
Though his glaucoma has been stable for the past 15 years thanks to eye drops, when he was six, he suffered a detached retina. Today, he has no vision in his left eye and has severely decreased vision in his right eye. Over the past five years, he’s had cataracts as well as a scare with a detached retina in his right eye. Fortunately, it was caught very early.
Powerful Potential of Science
With the powerful potential of science in mind, Tracy decided five years ago to support Glaucoma Research Foundation. “I was in a position in my career where I was able to contribute financially for the first time,” recalls Tracy, a lobbyist based in Washington, D.C. “I had conversations with my three ophthalmologists. I asked about their experiences and recommendations for groups to
support. They said Glaucoma Research Foundation was doing the best work in glaucoma.”
“I’m lucky that the glaucoma medication has kept my pressure very managed and controlled,” says Tracy. “And, I’m fortunate that my firm recognized my skills. Not every workplace would do that.”
Thus, Tracy has made the connection between the career he so clearly enjoys, and the medicine that has made it possible. “I give to the International Eye Foundation and Prevent Blindness America, both of which are focused on screenings and access to care. When it comes to research, I give to Glaucoma Research Foundation,” he says.
Catalyst Circle Member
Tracy is so enthusiastic about Glaucoma Research Foundation’s potential, that this year he decided to increase his giving, joining the ranks of leadership donors in the Catalyst Circle. “I want my contributions to grow as I grow in my career,” he says. “As long as I’m able to keep hold of my vision and have a very productive and rewarding career, I want to make contributions. I want to give while I can.”
“A cure would be great,” he continues, “but even if we don’t find a cure, if we find a new eye drop or a laser procedure or a pill that could extend my vision or someone else’s, it’s important. A home run would be nice but if we can get a few doubles here and there that helps a lot of people, too.”
Glaucoma Research Foundation is honored to have Tracy as a loyal donor and member of our Catalyst Circle, a dedicated group of donors who contribute $1,000 or more annually. Learn more about the Catalyst Circle.
First posted on October 20, 2015; Reviewed on April 28, 2022