**When making a donation, please select “in honor of” and enter “Carly Totten” so that all donations can be counted towards Carly’s efforts. Thank you so much!
Throughout September, my Poppy’s heart steadily declined. Though that may have been what caused him to leave us on September 30, 2016 at 95, I watched him fight his own battle with Age Related Macular Degeneration for over 15 years. It was a humbling thing to bear witness to, to say the least. He would often say he knew I was there but he couldn’t see my face. He frequently cocked his head or turned his body to allow anything and everything to fall inside his peripheral vision rather than his center of vision – the very thing AMD was taking from him.
Poppy played tennis until his mid-eighties when he ultimately decided the joy the game brought him was hindered by the fact he could no longer see the tennis ball. When we lost my Nana in 2015, he started to say he wanted to stop playing bridge with his friends, one of his biggest social outlets, because he was having trouble seeing even the larger cards his group purchased just for him. Poppy’s social life had always been busier than mine, and I watched it shrink for years due to macular degeneration.
I also watched him struggle to read and watch TV. In order to do either, he would turn to a special pair of glasses or a machine similar to an overhead projector given to him by the Bucks County Association for the Blind. Both helped, but they never acted as a cure; they couldn’t. A specialist also monitored Poppy’s AMD progression. In order to do so, Poppy endured bright photos and had needles placed into his eyes. He loved his doctor, but he hated those appointments because they left him in pain with his eyes closed for the rest of the day.
These things just became a way of life for him, but he slowly needed more and more help. Admitting he needed help and asking for it always led to him saying he was a “pain”. There could never have been more false statement. The only way to describe Poppy is to say he was magic. One of my life’s greatest honors was being his granddaughter.
Since Poppy’s AMD diagnosis, I have found myself closing my eyes or placing my hand over one of my eyes to try to see what it felt like to be him; to feel what he felt to not be able to see every shape and sight in clear, vivid color. I’m convinced it’s not something one can simulate. But, I can run.
On April 1, 2017, the day before what would have been Poppy’s 96th birthday, I am running the Copper River Bridge in Charleston, SC to honor him. My goal is to raise $1,000 for Macula Vision Research Foundation and AMD research. My Poppy may have endured years of sight loss, but I want others to always see each other and the everything around them clearly.
I will personally be donating $5 for every mile I run during training and on race day. I can still imagine my Poppy saying “Run, love!” in his wonderful English accent. As I cross the finish line on April 1, I hope Poppy is looking down and saying, “Gladys, she’s done it!,” to my Nana. He would be honored to know I am running for him, and he would be humbled to know you have chosen to join me.
To know and love my Nana and Poppy was to experience adoration, grace, and devotion on the greatest scale. And, so, I run for them. And for sight. #CarlyRunsForACause
**When making a donation, please remember to select “in honor of” and enter “Carly Totten” so that all donations can be counted towards Carly’s efforts. Thank you so much!
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Macula Vision Research Foundation
100 Front Street, Suite 300
West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2894
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