Swimmer, doctor raise awareness for blindness

Swim for Sight funds sight-restoring surgery
Posted at 12:58 PM, Jun 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-26 13:58:14-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) --Missy Franklin is known for her talents inside the pool, but each stroke Franklin makes in these swim trials, goes much farther than Brazil.


"Upon learning about the work Mike and I were doing to cure needless blindness around the world, Missy wanted to get involved,” said Jessica Feilmeier, a coordinator at the Stanley M. Truhlsen Eye Institute. “She couldn't believe we were able to cure 50% of the world's blindness with a five minutes procedure that costs 20 dollars."


Omaha ophthalmologist Dr. Michael Feilmeier and Franklin met at the National Jaycees meeting last year in Nashville, Tenn.


Dr. Feilmeier performs sight-restoring surgeries around the world, mainly in developing countries.


"I just can't imagine him being able to do something like that,” Franklin said during a press conference on Saturday. “It was something I felt really, really passionate about."


The doctor and swimmer founded "Swim for Sight”, the program raises awareness and funding to cure blindness.


During the swim trials, each lap Franklin makes in the Olympic pool, people can choose to donate to the foundation. With 100% of the proceeds going towards free sight-restoring surgery for patients.


"We're basically raising money to afford those surgeries, to give people their sight that they've never had before," Franklin said.


In November, Franklin will accompany doctor Feilmeier on a trip to Ethiopia.


But for now, Franklin will swim laps on the road to Rio, with an eye beyond Rio.