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giving back

Beverley Burdeyney, who had been plagued by dry eyes, decided to do something when she found her friends were suffering from the condition, too.DARREN CALABRESE/The Globe and Mail

The gift: Raising $110,000 and climbing

The cause: Research into eye care

When Beverley Burdeyney turned 74 last year, she started having problems with her eyes, notably dryness and discomfort.

"I was simply going through hell," Ms. Burdeyney recalled from her home in Toronto. "I felt so vulnerable, I felt so insecure because my life was compromised."

Ms. Burdeyney talked to some friends who had similar problems and were largely suffering in silence. "Nobody chooses to talk about it because it seems so insignificant," she said. "But more and more are suffering and lives are being compromised."

Eventually, Ms. Burdeyney learned about plans for an eye research program at Tel Aviv University in Israel involving Canadian doctor Allan Slomovic, who has done groundbreaking work on eye care using stem cells. She began raising money for the project with her friend, Toronto businessman Meyer Zeifman, and so far she has raised $110,000 with another $40,000 expected.

"I'm trying to get more and more individuals to understand there are solutions," said Ms. Burdeyney, a trained nurse who is still working as a personal trainer. "I say there is no old age, there's only neglect. Don't stand still, do something about it."

Ms. Burdeyney added that she is hoping to raise even more money for the research project. "I just want to bring light into people eyes and, with God's help, this is just the beginning."