4th ‘Dinner in the Dark’ to Benefit Inherited Retinal Disease Community and Research

 In News

Tickets are on sale for the annual culinary adventure, Dinner In the Dark, taking place Saturday, October 14, 2017 at the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa.

Now in its fourth year, Dinner in the Dark is the major annual fundraiser for Sofia Sees Hope, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to funding research and providing education and support to families affected by blindness caused by Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) and other rare inherited retinal diseases.

This event comes at a critical time for the retinal disease community.  “With advances in research like CRISPR and gene therapy, and successful clinical trials reversing blindness in children, we have more than just hope that cures on the horizon,” says Laura Manfre, organization co-founder and board president.  “Now more than ever, it is critical that our patient community is supported, educated and informed, understands our role in moving research forward, and makes our voices heard in industry and policy. We rely on Dinner in the Dark to fund our mission and keep research moving forward.”

This dinner is a true culinary adventure — guests will dine with a blindfold on and the menu is a secret! The Mystic Marriott’s Chef enjoys this challenge of creating an exclusive menu that appeals to all of the senses. New this year, wine pairings are provided by Angelini Wine along with their producers, Il Borro Cellars from the Ferragamo estate in Tuscany, and Carpenè Malvolti in Veneto. Another new addition are the “Majestic Pearls”, donated by jeweler Simply Majestic in Mystic.    

The keynote speaker this year is David Brint, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Brint has helped lead FFB’s research efforts for more than 15 years and is currently Vice Chairman of Research.  Brint has a personal connection to inherited retinal degenerative diseases as his son, Alan, is affected by LCA.

Dinner in the Dark begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 14, at the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa. Tickets are $150 per person or $2,020 for a 20/20 Vision Table Patron. In 2016, this event sold out early and is expected to do the same this year.

The evening includes a live auction with exciting travel packages, an experience with award-winning pastry chef, Chef Franck Iglesias, from Cake by Franck, and more. The festivities end with music by The Cartells and dancing. Be prepared for a unique menu, fine wines, and sensory adventure! Tickets are available at www.sofiaseeshope.org.

Event sponsors include:

Mohegan Tribe

Simply Majestic

Renewal By Andersen / Window of Giving

Yale New Haven Health/Lawrence + Memorial Hospital

Mystic Aquarium

Spark Therapeutics

Dominion Resources Services, Inc.

A/Z Corporation


Andersen Oil Co.

Berry Land Clearing

Brown Jacobson

Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT

Charter Oak Credit Union

Chelsea Groton Bank

CrossFit Stonington

Design Intervention

Eye Doctors Elgart, Pinn, Gordon & Elgart

Eye Specialists, LLC

Eyecare Expressions

Foxwoods Resort & Casino

Groton Eye Center

Hoyt, Filippetti & Malaghan, LLC

Kelsar Physical Therapy

Lee & Company Salon

Le Francois Floral & Gifts

Mary-Jo Shultis Photography

Miranda Creative

Noank Village Boatyard

Pine Point School

Retina Group of New England

Simply Majestic

Suisman Shapiro Attorneys-at-Law

Sun Media

The Morrison Family

Universal Package Store

Valenti Auto Mall

Voice Glance


In-kind sponsors:

Angelini Wine

Mary Jo Shultis Photography

ABC PhotoLab

Clarity Quest Marketing

Eighty Six Media

Foxwoods Resort and Casino

Le François Floral & Gifts

Skincare and Wellness on the Thames LLC

The Cartells

The United States Coast Guard Academy

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