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(Chelsea Update would like to thank Joan Wolf for the information in this story.)

All are welcome to participate in the third annual Yoga for Sight fundraiser this Friday, April 15 from 6-7 p.m. at Breathe Yoga, 104 E. Middle St.

This gentle, donation-based class is being offered by Sue Whitmarsh and Joan Wolf as part of an event involving more than 60 yoga studios worldwide.

Yoga for Sight proceeds benefit the Seva Foundation, an international public health non-profit that began in a small cabin on Spring Lake in Chelsea 38 years ago. Now based in California, Seva programs have helped over 3.5 million people to regain their sight.

Seva began modestly in 1978 with native Michiganders, Dr. Larry Brilliant (currently Chairman of Skoll Global Threats Fund) and his wife, Girija Brilliant, a public health specialist. Larry and Girija published an article entitled “Death of a Killer Disease” after working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to end smallpox in India. It was a personal account of their decade in Asia, first as youthful travelers, then as spiritual seekers, and eventually as part of WHO’s successful smallpox eradication team.

They concluded the article with an appeal to readers to find the compassion and understanding to support international health programs to benefit those struggling with poverty. Readers were moved and soon $20,000 arrived in Larry and Girija’s mailbox, with the first $5,000 coming from not-yet-famous computer inventor Steve Jobs.

Inspired by the supportive response, the Brilliants invited an eclectic group that included WHO’s Dr. Nicole Grasset, spiritual teacher Ram Dass, and activist Wavy Gravy among others to a meeting in Chelsea. From this humble beginning, a model international organization was formed.

In just the past year, Seva’s Sight Program provided 1 million people with eye care services worldwide. For more information on Seva, please visit  http://www.seva.org.

For further information please contact Joan Wolf at joanwolf@umich.edu.

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