5th ‘Dinner in the Dark’ to Benefit Inherited Retinal Disease Community and Research

 In News

Sofia Sees Hope expands scope of the dinner with its inaugural LCA Family Conference held the same weekend.

Mystic, CT (Aug. 22, 2018) — Tickets are now on sale for the annual culinary adventure, Dinner In the Dark, taking place Saturday, October 6, 2018 at the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa.

Now in its fifth year, Dinner in the Dark is the major annual fundraiser for Sofia Sees Hope, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information and support to individuals and families affected by Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), a rare inherited disease that causes blindness. The organization also raises funds to provide free access to patients for genetic testing, and for research to support diagnosis, treatments and cure.

This year, Sofia Sees Hope is expanding the scope of Dinner in the Dark to include its first-ever LCA Family Conference on Friday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 6, also at the Mystic Marriott.

The conference will provide a day of learning and connecting with the LCA (Leber congenital amaurosis) community. It begins Friday night with a welcome dinner and continues Saturday with a day of workshops and speakers from organizations including Editas Medicine, Spark Therapeutics, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, and more.

“There are exciting advances being made in the fields of gene therapy and genetic treatments,” said Laura Manfre, co-founder and president of Sofia Sees Hope. “With this being our fifth year in existence, we feel like we are at a point where we are able to offer education and guidance to others within the LCA community. We have developed the relationships and created the networks and contacts to be able to help LCA families navigate their journey. We felt that it made sense, with the growing success of Dinner in the Dark, to make it a full weekend.”

Dinner in the Dark begins with a cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 6, at the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa. Tickets are $150 per person or $2,020 for a 20/20 Vision Table Patron (table of 10 with preferred seating). Sponsorship opportunities begin at $500, and all sponsor levels include guest tickets.

This dinner is a true culinary adventure — guests will dine blindfolded and the menu is a secret! The Mystic Marriott’s chef enjoys this challenge of creating an exclusive gourmet menu that appeals to all the senses, with wine pairings provided by Angelini Wine. This fundraising dinner helps people connect with the organization’s mission through a dynamic and fun culinary experience.

The evening also includes a live auction with exciting travel packages, one-of-a-kind experiences and donations from incredible local artisans, supporters, and businesses. For the second year, custom jeweler Simply Majestic of Mystic, is sponsoring an additional fundraiser — 150 Majestic Boxes! One of the boxes contains a gorgeous sterling silver “hope” pendant. The others contain an exquisite sterling silver love knot pendant necklace. The lucky recipient of the hope charm will receive a diamond pendant and ring from Simply Majestic’s Designer Collection.

“ ‘We live here, we give here’ is one of Simply Majestic’s mottos,” said co-owner Susette Tibus. “It has been our pleasure to support Sofia Sees Hope every year. Philanthropic businesses are essential to a non-profit’s success. A strong support base at home can open doors and help organizations like Sofia Sees Hope reach their goals and spread their mission.”

The festivities conclude with music by The Cartells and dancing. Be prepared for a unique menu, fine wines, and sensory adventure! Tickets are available at www.sofiaseeshope.org.

Event sponsors:
Accessibly LLC
Andersen Oil Company
Dominion Foundation
Editas Medicine
Foxwoods Resort & Casino
Groton Dental Group
Groton Eye Center
Hoyt, Filippetti & Malaghan, LLC
Kelsar Physical Therapy
Melissa Allen Pilates
Mohegan Tribe
Pine Point School
Pure Eco Spa
Renewal By Andersen
Remote Coxswain
Sanofi Genzyme
Simply Majestic
Spark Therapeutics
Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law
Switz Real Estate Associates Inc.
Universal Package, LLC
Valenti Auto Mall
Verizon Wireless Zone
Window of Giving
Yale New Haven Hospital
Feinstein Education Law Group

In-kind sponsors:
Angelini Wine
Eighty Six Media
Mary-Jo Shultis Photography
Mystic Aquarium
The Cartells

About Sofia Sees Hope

Sofia Sees Hope was founded in 2014 by Laura Manfre and Charles Priebe, whose daughter Sofia has Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). This rare genetic retinal condition is characterized by severe vision loss at birth and leads to total blindness.

The mission of Sofia Sees Hope is to transform the lives of those affected by blindness caused by rare inherited eye disease. The nonprofit organization generates awareness, raises funds for research, and provides outreach, support and education to those affected by LCA and other rare retinal diseases.