Why Bob and Lupe Reintsma are Supporting the Foundation Fighting Blindness
Bob Reintsma has been passionate about finding cures for inherited retinal diseases for most of his life. Now, he and his wife, Lupe, want to make sure the work continues long after they’re gone. And they’re doing it in partnership with Foundation Fighting Blindness.
It’s something I’ve been affected with for more than 80 years,” Bob said. “I can’t think of a better place to leave whatever money one has left.
Born with X-linked retinitis pigmentosa, Bob’s vision started to decline early in his life, and by his mid-twenties, he was completely blind. Like many who have lost vision gradually over time, Bob tried not to let it affect his life as long as he could. He learned to cope and remade himself as a real estate man — a successful one at that. Bob says that today it is Lupe who helps him get around. “He was quite independent when we met,” she says. “As we’ve gotten older, he’s needed a little more help.”
Over the years, they’ve kept tabs on the progress of researchers working to develop treatments and cures for inherited retinal diseases, particularly the work supported by the Foundation. As committed as they are to one another, they are equally committed to the mission of the Foundation. They are active in the Seattle chapter and its VisionWalks and have attended multiple VISIONS conferences. “There’s been so much progress made since even the last 30 years,” Lupe says, “that you know the money is being used wisely.” To help continue this progress, Bob and Lupe have committed significant planned gifts to the Foundation — and their generosity has inspired the creation of The Reintsma 2025 Legacy Society.
For Bob, lending his name to an effort that seeks to ensure the continued success of all this work is a fitting tribute to his friend, Foundation co-founder Gordon Gund. “It’s good that he started with the means and was interested in doing a thing like that,” he says. “Somebody who, together with his doctors, took the reins and started the Foundation. I certainly give my appreciation to him.”
Both Bob and Lupe believe that the research taking place could eventually end inherited retinal diseases. They both trust that a gift to the Foundation, whether outright or as part of their legacy by way of an estate gift, is a worthwhile investment. “I have to do it by trust,” Bob says. “I don’t have the money to do my own research, so it has to be put in the hands of scientists and doctors and ophthalmologists. I can’t think of a better place to put it.”