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Dozens Experience 'Dining in the Dark'

Imagine a night of wining and dining: the smells, the tastes, the sounds, but none of the sights.

That's the idea behind a very unique meal served Sunday night, one with a very important message too.

 It's something many folks do without even thinking -- using their eyes. 

"The very first moment I put on my blindfold, I got to experience and important sense that I've taken for granted," said dinner guest Barbara Stein. 

Dozens of people packed a room for what's called "Dining in the Dark." It's a full course meal, all blind folded.

Studies show thousands of people across the state are visually impaired, including Marquette student Ian Kloehn, who's legally blind. 

"Everyday life is a little different than the normal person. Sometimes, someone will be walking at me in the street and I won't be able to see who it is until they're fairly close," said Kloehn. 

The event is put on every year by the Vision Forward Association. 

The organization says many of the their clients struggle not only physically, but emotionally with losing their eyesight. 

"We've had individuals diagnosed with a vision loss wait anywhere from two, to five to ten years before they seek help. We don't want people waiting that long. The emotional aspect is very difficult and challenging," said Executive Director of the Vision Forward Association Terri Davis. 

As people sipped wine, depending on their other senses to navigate the food on their plates, they said they walked away with the ability to see things through a different lens.

"The fact that I need help in order to to eat a meal is a little ego deflating, but then people who don't have sight have learned to overcome that," said Stein. 

 The money raised from tonight's dinner will go towards the Vision Forward Association and the services they provide for people in the community.

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