Richard Harlow began to lose vision in his right eye in the spring of 2010 and by Thanksgiving was legally blind on that side.
By Christmas of that year he started losing sight in his left eye and by the spring of 2011 was legally blind in both eyes. Harlow has Leber’s Optic Neuropathy, a rare optic nerve disease. But his vision loss could be reversible.
He is taking a drug treatment that has a high chance of restoring his vision. However, the treatment is expensive, about $3,000 a month.
To help with the costs Harlow is hosting Richard Harlow’s Fight for Sight Night at the Queen’s Saturday (April 13) 6-10 p.m.
The fundraiser features performances by EJ Estes, Eric Harper, Johnny Inappropriate, Naughty and Spice Burlesque Troupe and The Hot Mamas Burlesque Troupe. It also features comedy performances by Harlow, Deanna Wood, Peter Hudson and Joey Bergey.
“It has been pretty crazy actually,” said Harlow about the support he’s receiving from the performance community. “I’ve had to start denying people to perform because we don’t have the time (available).”
Harlow recently had the chance to open for Tom Green and was interviewed by the comedian on his YouTube channel.
“It was a pretty amazing experience,” said Harlow. “It was quite an honour and he helped me out and spread awareness about my comedy.”
Comedy has been a means of making people feel more at ease for Harlow.
“I’ve always kind of used comedy to break the ice with people,” he said.
He creates jokes to show he isn’t afraid to talk about his disability and said that makes people seem more comfortable about talking about it.
He uses comedy as a way to cheer people up as well as himself.
“I feel it’s better to make people feel happy and think of the positive rather than go to depression,” said Harlow.
Tickets are $20 and available at the Queen’s, Lux, Acme Food Co., Catwalk and Vancouver Island University Student’s Union.
The ticket includes a beer and burger and during the night there is a silent auction.
People can also donate by going to https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/cSjda. Monetary or silent auction donations from businesses are also appreciated said Harlow.
Businesses wishing to get involved can contact Harlow through his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Richard HarlowComedy.