Jack Schoellerman's vision problems began in the 1960s. It was several years before he was diagnosed with keratoconus and even longer before he found out he wasn't alone.

His wife, Katy, happened to see an ad in the LA Times for a seminar at a new foundation. The DEF seminar was Schoellerman's first step into the organization. DEF founder Morris Pynoos later recruited him to the board of directors; he eventually replaced Pynoos as chair and president of the board.

Schoellerman's personal experience is not the only reason for his long-term involvement. "DEF does pioneering, cutting-edge work," he says. "We support projects that will move rapidly from the research bench to the patient. Our community outreach and education programs are outstanding. It's very entrepreneurial. People can really benefit from what we do."

The Schoellermans are also major financial supporters of DEF and its outreach programs. "I know what it was like to feel alone – to be without reliable information or access to fellow patients," Schoel-lerman says. Thanks to generous volunteers and donors such as the Schoellermans, no one else does.

Posted December 2010