July 27, 2017 @ 6:18 PM

Brew Fest raises funds to fight Usher syndrome

By Christopher Andersson North County Outlook 

Local Jerry Brogan, left, speaks with Molly O'Malley, who works for New Belgium Brewing of Colorado at the Arlington Brew Fest on July 22.

The Arlington Brew Fest returned for a second year, bringing many breweries to Arlington's Legion Park and raising funds for research for a cure of Usher syndrome on July 22.

This is the second year for the event which was started by Vision for a Cure, a local nonprofit that raises funds to fight Usher syndrome.

The syndrome is a genetic disorder that is the cause of hearing loss and blindness in people.

Jeremy Carter, president of Vision for a Cure, said that last year the event went well. They had a capacity of 650 and sold out 40 minutes after the doors opened.

"After seeing how it went last year we upped our capacity to 1,000 and we sold out this morning [July 22], so it's amazing," he said. "It's completely overwhelming to me."

Last year the nonprofit organization was able to give a $25,000 check to the Westerfield Laboratory at the University of Oregon which focuses its research on Usher syndrome.

"Out of our four events we've ever done, that was by far the biggest check we've ever done. It feels pretty good to be able to write that check," said Jeremy Carter.

The Arlington Brew Fest provides a place for independent breweries to showcase their beers locally.

"It's something new for Arlington. I don't live here anymore, but I grew up here, and this has always been home for me," said Jeremy Carter.

"You have different brew fests around the area in Everett or Snohomish, but nothing like that here," he said.

In addition to providing something new to the town they are raising money at the same time, he said.

"We didn't get to make it last year and we know it's for a good cause so we wanted to come down," said local Jerry Brogan.

"It's hot out, but it looks like it's going to be a good time," he said.

Jeremy Carter started Vision of a Cure after his wife was diagnosed with Usher syndrome.

"She's a trooper, she handles it better than I do," he said.

Jeremy's wife Jodi Carter said she grew up with hearing aids, but the actual syndrome wasn't diagnosed until later in life.

"In my later years I was having vision problems and I was diagnosed," she said. "They didn't catch it until later because it's such a rare disease."

"For me, my peripheral is closing in and there is the possibility at some point that I could eventually go blind. Hopefully there's so much research going on and so many events like this that there will be a cure found within my lifetime," she said.

There is currently no cure, but Jodi Carter said she was optimistic.

"They're working on it and are very, very, very close, so it's events like this that help that," she said.

Vision for a Cure started the Arlington Brew Fest in an effort to help spread awareness of the disorder.

"It's a very rare disease and if I wasn't married to someone who had it, I would have no idea," said Jeremy Carter.

"We did an event before last year called the Concert in the Garden and it was great, but we were getting all the same people," he said. "And we love those people, but if our mission is to raise awareness, those people are already aware."

The success of the two brew fests so far have "absolutely" helped spread knowledge of the disorder further though.

"We've been unbelievably thankful for the community supporting us," he said.

More information about Vision for a Cure is available at their website at visionforacure.com.