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Blind Baggaley students sells candy to aid families of children with vision disorders

| Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Fourth-grader Adison Lemmon takes a candy request from a fellow student during the lunch period at Baggaley Elementary School on June 4, 2014. Adison has low vision and a congenital eye anomaly and decided to hold the fundraiser she called Sweets for Sight at her elementary school. She is donating the proceeds from the one-day sale to the Vision for Tomorrow Foundation.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Fourth-grader Adison Lemmon takes a candy request from a fellow student during the lunch period at Baggaley Elementary School on June 4, 2014.

Greater Latrobe fourth-grader Adison Lemmon's fundraiser, Sweets for Sight, was inspired by something simple: a man carrying a white cane similar to hers.

The Baggaley Elementary School student sold candy last week to raise $222.15 for The Vision for Tomorrow Foundation, a group that supports families with children who have vision disorders such as aniridia and albinism.

Adison, 10, has aniridia, which involves the complete or partial absence of the iris, the colored part of the eye. For Adison, this means difficulty in seeing things far away.

The girl is considered legally blind. Besides wearing glasses, she sometimes uses a cane to navigate. Despite this, Adison learns in a regular classroom; and in her free time she dances, performs gymnastics and rides horses.

“I can do anything anyone else can,” she said.

Sweets for Sight was born of Adison's desire to help others.

“One day we were going to Pittsburgh for my appointment at Children's Hospital. I saw a guy walking down the street with a cane like mine. I felt bad, and I wanted to do something to help him,” she said.

Her mother, Stacy Lemmon, said that since Adison wants to be a teacher one day, she suggested she teach children with low vision. But Adison said she wants to do something sooner.

So Sweets for Sight was born.

Lemmon noted that she was sure to avoid allergens like nuts and chocolate when she bought the candy for resale so as many students as possible could participate.

“The school was more receptive than we expected,” Lemmon said. “[Adison's] friends helped, too.”

Adison, her brother Nathan, 9, who is also in fourth grade, and their mother sold candy to Baggaley students during lunch last week. Their collection container quickly swelled with coins and dollar bills while both students and teachers lined up to buy the treats.

“We're overwhelmed by the support,” Lemmon said.

Adison and Nathan handled the donations like seasoned cashiers, explaining the prices to younger children. Adison was especially energetic when helping the kids. That's not surprising —she said she had been excited about the event for the past week.

“I'm proud of her,” Lemmon said. “I'm always advocating for her to be independent and to advocate for herself.”

Alicia McElhaney is a writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-6220 or amcelhaney@tribweb.com.

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