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Aurora “Musical Feast” To Honor Professor

More than 30 years ago, when Dr. Milene Morfei of Scipio Center was 23, she lost her vision to a form of macular degeneration called Stargardt’s Disease. She was married, working, and mother to two young daughters. Milene and her husband, Ron, looked for help in dealing with the emotional and practical fallout of blindness. When her ophthalmologist told her to stop “whining,” she said, she thought nothing could be done. Then she heard about AURORA of CNY, Inc., Central New York’s only nonprofit that exclusively serves people who are blind, deaf, visually impaired and hard of hearing. AURORA was called the Lighthouse then, before it merged with the CNY Association for the Hearing Impaired in 1991. “The assistance, support and encouragement I received let me turn the problem of vision loss into an inconvenience. I set out to find out what I could do and come to terms with how I had to do things differently. I discovered I could still do things exceptionally well,” she said. She went back to school receiving her undergraduate degree from Wells College and her master’s and doctorate degrees from Syracuse University. Today she is an associate professor of psychology at Wells College. Ron said, “I remember every moment of what my wife went through to get where she is today. We were literally bombarded with help from AURORA. Milene received special equipment, a volunteer reader, and every means available to help her adjust to her blindness, advance in her education and maintain her career.” The Morfeis will tell their story May 8 at AURORA’s 6th Annual Musical Feast for the Eyes and Ears. The event will begin at 6 p.m. at the Lodge at Welch Allyn in Skaneateles. It will include dinner, dancing, music by Mere Mortals and a silent auction. “Our silent auction is popular every year. We will have unique gift baskets, getaways, jewelry and more, just in time for Mother’s Day, graduations and the wedding season,” said Deb Chaiken, AURORA’s executive director. For information on attending the Musical Feast, call AURORA at 315-422-7263 (TDD 315-422-9746). AURORA is a United Way agency of Central New York and Oswego and Cayuga counties.

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