Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image A fundraiser swap meet will be held this Friday and Saturday at Performance Automall Tooele to raise $15,000 to buy specialized glasses for Kapree Smith (above), who was born with a vision disability.

April 23, 2015
Auto dealership to raise funds to give gift of eyesight to child

What started out simply as an idea to host a swap meet in the company parking lot has become a major charitable initiative at a local auto dealership.

Jenny Prapher, who works in business development at Performance Automall Tooele, began asking around the community about hosting a swap meet. At the same time, Danno Smith, who is a sales consultant for the dealership, began fundraising to buy an expensive piece of technology that could vastly improve his daughter’s eyesight.

Prapher’s inquiries had garnered a lot of interest on Facebook, she said, so when news of Smith’s fundraising effort came with him to work one day, she said she and her colleagues knew exactly what they needed to do.

Smith’s 11-year-old daughter, Kapree, was born with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, a developmental condition that affected the prenatal growth of her optic nerves and stole her eyesight.

Today, Kapree has eyesight in the range of 20/800, said her mother, Vanessa Smith. Kapree has some peripheral vision and can see large contrasts of color or light, but has to hold objects up close in order to make out any detail, Vanessa Smith said.

At school, specialized magnification technologies have allowed Kapree to learn to read, prompting the family to begin searching for something that might grant her the same advantages in everyday situations. That’s when they discovered eSight, a specialized eyewear product that contains a high-definition camera that can display greatly magnified images on LCD screens positioned right in front of the user’s eyes.

“These glasses are ideal for her because that’s how she has to see anyway,” Vanessa Smith said.

The downside? The specialized glasses cost $15,000 and insurance won’t cover the purchase because the technology is still new and relatively unproven.

Undeterred, the Smith family set up an account at gofundme.com and began to solicit donations from friends, family and colleagues. So far they have raised a more than $5,000.

To assist with the fundraising effort, the staff at Performance Automall Tooele will donate proceeds from this weekend’s swap meet booth rentals to Kapree’s eSight fund. So far the swap meet has about 30 vendors registered — even some more unusual guests, such as the Purrfect Pawprints animal rescue and some food trucks, Prapher said.

The swap meet will also play host to a fundraising raffle, which will feature items such as massage packages, photography sessions, and even a new TV, all of which Prapher said were donated by local businesses or individuals.

The swap meet will be open this Friday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and this Saturday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Performance Automall Tooele (1041 N. Main) parking lot.

Interested residents should call 888-653-2207 for more information and ask for Jenny or Stephanie. Donations can also be made online at www.gofundme.com/esightforkapree. 

Emma Penrod

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Emma Penrod is a staff writer for the Tooele Transcript-Bulletin and covers Tooele City government, religion, health, the environment, ethnic issues and public infrastructure. A Tooele native, Penrod graduated from Tooele High School in 2010. She holds an associates degree from Utah State University, and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Brigham Young University. She worked for the newspaper as a high school intern starting in 2008. In 2010 she began working full-time in the newsroom until she left for college later that year. While at BYU, Penrod worked as a writer and editor for a small health magazine in Utah County. She interned with The Riverdale Press, a community newspaper in the Bronx, NY and with the Deseret News. She is also the author of two non-fiction books.

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