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Foundation regards blindness as just ‘one small obstacle’

LISTEN: Foundation for Blind Children CEO Marc Ashton

The Foundation for Blind Children first began in 1952 and as the parent of a blind child, Marc Ashton could not be more grateful.

“Foundation for Blind Children is a private, nonprofit organization here in Phoenix that serves children from birth to — our oldest client is 102 right now — and we serve anything they need all along their life journey,” Ashton told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Rob and Karie on Friday.

FBC is well-established across the Valley and is the go-to foundation for new, scared parents.

“Most importantly, [FBC is there] the day a parent finds out their child is blind. The doctor usually has the parent give us a call and we literally show up on their doorstep the next day, just like they did with myself. My son is blind. He’s 17 now,” Ashton said.

Ashton said that teaching blind children first starts off like a narrative, where you are constantly describing things to them, like where they are, the colors of things and how many people are around them.

“Later, you start learning Braille and how to read and write and do math, etc., just using alternative formats,” Ashton explained.

Blind kids and adults are no different than those blessed with sight and every year, FBC strives to show off the superhero-like strength of its blind members.

“Three of our kids this year swam Alcatraz. It was the first time in the Alcatraz Invitational Swim, in their 18-year history, that blind people had done the swim,” Ashton recalled. “We had three blind swimmers: My son Max, a gentleman named Tanner and a girl named Katie. They took us out on the ferry with about 600 other swimmers and dumped us in the water by the island and we got to swim back to shore.”

Ashton said it is vital to not only show others what blind people can do, but to instill confidence in those who are blind and teach them they are not any different from the rest of us.

“Blindness is just one small obstacle these kids have to overcome, but they can do anything they want. We’ve gone to the top of Kilimanjaro, we’ve done the rim-to-rim at the Grand Canyon,” he added.

If you are interested in donating or volunteering or know of someone who might benefit from FBC, contact them at