The Brandi Project, a Warwick-based not-for-profit that provides grants to animal-focused organizations and rescue efforts, has donated $2,500 to the ACVO Vision Animal Foundation (VAF) in support of …
The Brandi Project, a Warwick-based not-for-profit that provides grants to animal-focused organizations and rescue efforts, has donated $2,500 to the ACVO Vision Animal Foundation (VAF) in support of ocular disease research in animals. In particular, the funds will benefit research for Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome, or SARDS. The grant is the result of a recent fundraiser hosted by The Brandi Project.
“We want to make the biggest impact possible in the lives of at-risk dogs, and we know that means providing both financial support and spreading awareness,” said Jim Paolucci, who founded The Brandi Project with his wife, Iwona. “We’re incredibly proud to be able to donate these dollars, which would not be possible without the support of our community who not only believes in this work, but are all compassionate animal lovers themselves.”
SARDS is a leading cause of incurable canine vision loss diagnosed by veterinary ophthalmologists and its cause is unknown. It is most commonly diagnosed in female mixed breed and small breed dogs with the average age of onset being 7-10 years. The disease is characterized by acute onset of blindness due to loss of function of a part of the retina – the photoreceptors – responsible for transforming light energy.
The VAF is currently supporting several SARDS-related research projects, including one based in Rhode Island. In 2021, the foundation provided funding to Dr. Ken Abrams and his team for a study titled, ‘Olfaction Evaluation in Dogs with Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome’ (Sniffin’ out SARDS).
“Since 2015, the VAF has dedicated more than $70,000 to SARDS research,” said Jamie Schorling, DVM, DACVO, President of the VAF Board of Directors. “We are beyond grateful to The Brandi Project, and others, for their generosity and will use these funds to continue to support this important work.”
The Brandi Project was born out of Iwona and Jim Paolucci’s love of their rescue dog, Brandi, and their desire to help dogs living in shelters and at risk for euthanasia. Brandi was rescued from a Tennessee shelter in 2012, and The Brandi Project founded in 2014. Since being established, The Brandi Project has helped raise more than $50,000.00 for PAWS New England, East Greenwich Animal Protection League, RISPCA, and several other smaller organizations with similar missions and passion for animals. Brandi passed away from complications relating to SARDS in April, 2022.
The mission of the ACVO Vision for Animals Foundation (VAF) is to improve the quality of life of animals by advancing eye health through science and education. The organization provides funding for grants in support of research, by qualified animal health care professionals and scientists, into the elimination of ocular diseases causing vision loss and suffering in animals. For more, visit www.visionforanimals.org.
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