USC Upstate News

JC Stroble Glaucoma Awareness Foundation Sponsors Screening Event and Fundraiser

03- 24- 2009

Spartanburg, S.C. - Many in the Spartanburg community know JC Stroble as the man who calls the orders out and tells you to “move on down the line” at the Beacon Restaurant in downtown Spartanburg. Legally blind as a result of glaucoma, he has been a fixture of the restaurant for 50 years.  His daughter, Jekeithlyn Stroble Ross, a former optician and current nonprofit administration major at the University of South Carolina Upstate, has formed a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating people about glaucoma and other eye diseases. 

Kiki StrobleOn Thursday, April 2 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the JC Stroble Glaucoma Awareness Foundation will host a community outreach event on the quad at USC Upstate. “Glaucoma Awareness Day – Fight For Sight” will offer free screenings for glaucoma and eye exams, as well as other heath checks. The staff of Palmetto Eye will perform the glaucoma screenings and will offer information on the latest corrective eye surgical procedures. Mary Black School of Nursing students will assist with blood pressure checks. The USC Upstate chapter of the Lions Club, of which Ross is a member, will have donation boxes available for used eyeglasses. There will also be staff from Sherman Chiropractic to offer stress relief exercises.

Free food will be provided by the Beacon Restaurant, T & T Hot Wings, Sonny’s Brick Oven Pizza, Krispy Kreme, Hardee’s and Bojangles. Regions Bank is providing door prizes, and t-shirts will be on sale. JC Stroble himself will be at the event, which is open to the public. All screenings are free, however, donations are appreciated.

Several music acts will be performing throughout the morning and afternoon, including Clifton Reeves of GRisen performing rap; David Coffin of Krucifyd Ministries singing gospel; an Atlanta-based rap group Grayco; and Laurent Smith performing R&B. Hangar Radio, from First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, will be doing a live remote from the quad.

“The key to fighting glaucoma is early detection, keeping regular eye exams, and to maintain a medication regimen,” Ross says, adding that “since this disease can rob your eyesight with no signs or symptoms, screenings like this one on April 2 are so important.” Ross says that in her research and in her discussions with ophthalmologists, she has found that over 50 percent of people in Spartanburg and surrounding areas who are seen by ophthalmologists are diagnosed with glaucoma.

Ross watched her father go blind at the age of 36, his vision robbed by glaucoma, which she refers to as a “silent, highly misdiagnosed disease.” Seen in both genders and all races, glaucoma affects peripheral vision when fluid pressure builds up within the eye, gradually causing eyesight to narrow to tunnel vision, and finally causes objects in front to be blurry, and fade.

Her father’s disease affected Ross’ career path, and she became an optician, working for LensCrafters and Sears. After marriage, four children and life as a military wife, she decided to return to school to get a degree in nonprofit administration, so she could bring her dream of helping and educating the community about glaucoma into focus. She is now in her second year of USC Upstate’s nonprofit degree program. In 2008 during her freshman year, she formed an official 501(c) 3 organization under the umbrella of the Spartanburg County Foundation, called the JC Stroble Glaucoma Awareness Foundation.

As a result of her career connections within the optometrist and ophthalmologist communities, she has support for many programs and fundraisers, and she is positive that her organization will be instrumental in glaucoma research, diagnosis and finding a cure. Ross has been actively speaking to large groups over the past year to increase public awareness about the disease and has joined forces with other disability awareness groups in the region including the Mayor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.  

The foundation’s office is located at 167 E. Kennedy St. in Spartanburg. For additional information, contact Jekeithlyn Stroble Ross at stroblej@email.uscupstate.edu or call (864) 266-8406 or visit www.jcstroblefoundation.org.