Seeing is believing Salon eyewear event benefits local woman

By on April 11, 2012

By: MICHELLE REIFF Review Staff, Staff Writer

The past five years have not been easy for Ephrata resident Cheryl Nash, but thanks to the help of some local businesses, the future may soon look a bit brighter.

Diagnosed with scleroderma, a connective tissue disease which starts with the hardening of the lungs but can affect all the organs in the body, the 65-year-old Nash went from being a busy employee at the Fulton Bank drive-through to relying on a feeding tube for nutrition… from being self-sufficient to having to depend on others.

Priding itself on local fellowship, Ephrata business Salon Art-Tiff has set up a fund-raiser event for April 23 to help Cheryl, a long-time client and friend. In addition to the physical/mental struggle involved in a chronic disease, there is also the financial burden of needs not covered under insurance policies. Recognizing this, the salon has partnered with Modern Eyes of Lancaster to hold a drop-in eyewear event from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the salon.

"Our goal is to raise $2,000 for this family," said Sue Burkholder, owner of the salon.

The event will give local residents the opportunity to purchase glasses at a discount while helping someone else in need. They may bring in their prescriptions (not older than two years), choose their frames and one to two weeks later pick them up at the Modern Eyes Optical kiosk in Center Court at Park City. If a visitor doesn’t have their prescription, Modern Eyes will call their eye doctor and get it.

This is a buy one-get one free frame sale, with 20 percent of all eyeglass sales going back to the Nash family.

Burkholder said the collaboration of the two businesses on a successful eyewear event a couple years ago prompted her to choose this fund-raiser once again. The last one raised money for a Relay for Life family.

"I’m all about giving back to the community… somebody that truly (is in need) because of situations they have no control over, has lost a job, family," said Burkholder. "This community has given a lot to us."

Joe Nash, Cheryl’s son, is extremely appreciative of the fund-raiser, not only because the money raised will go toward his family’s medical bills, but also because he considers it a step toward helping people become advocates of their own health.

Joe explained that his mother was diagnosed with scleroderma only after repeated misdiagnoses and treatment.

"Eventually in 2011 Hershey Medical Center did an emergency surgery on her GI tract," he said. This is where it was finally identified that her large loss of weight and deteriorating health was the scleroderma affecting her internal organs.

"To this point there is really no cure for sclerodoma. There is no pill," said Joe, who says a support group of women who each had been misdiagnosed for a number of years is what helped her learn to live with the illness. "The support group… that was huge, just seeing the other ways people are affected."

Cheryl’s husband, along with her children, take turns driving her to doctor visits, but she is able to take walks and do activities around the house and has gotten used to living with the feeding tube, which is on a backpack. Aware that older generations were not as proactive in learning how to be an advocate for their own health, Joe strongly urges people who have symptoms that they don’t understand not to be afraid to ask their doctors questions.

"The doctors (should have) gotten proactive in learning about the disease," said Joe. "There is plenty of good information on the Internet."

The owners of Modern Eyes are no strangers to charitable activity. Over the span of the six years they’ve been in business, partners Jon Ressler, Chad Weaver and Ralph Scott have held many benefit events.

"We raised over $1,500 for Relay for Life," said Ressler. "That became a catalyst for us."

Last year Modern Eyes began calling on local charities and offering to do eye exams for them, resulting in 10 events last fall. Some of the organizations for which the eyewear company has raised money are Schreiber Pediatrics, Hospice, S. June Smith and local schools.

"The coolest thing we’ve ever done was an event in December at a blind association. Every pair (of glasses) sold we would make a pair for a child who can’t afford one," said Ressler.

Salon Art-Tiff and Modern Eyes staff will be ready to greet visitors on April 23 with hundreds of unique frames for only $99.99. The salon is located at 194 N. Reading Road, Ephrata. More BENEFIT, page A16

About Ephrata Review