The Eyes of Christmas 17th Annual

RPI Spreads Holiday Cheer with THE EYES OF CHRISTMAS


17th Annual "The Eyes of Christmas"

Television Special for the Visually Impaired Kicks-off with "It’s A Wonderful Life," Audio Described by

Former US President George H.W. Bush on Christmas Eve and is Followed by Special Holiday Programming Hosted by

Vin Scully and Hollywood Celebrities on Christmas Morning

LOS ANGELES -- (December 8, 2011) – Helen Harris’ RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa) International ( — the longest-standing non-profit organization leading the way for medical and technological advancements for the visually impaired — initiates a Holiday Season fundraising campaign. Funds raised by this year’s 17th Annual "The Eyes of Christmas" television special will go directly towards the charity’s efforts to support the visually impaired.

"The Eyes of Christmas" television special is the brainchild of blind activist and RP International (RPI) founder Helen Harris. The event features TheatreVision™ airings of Frank Capra’s "It’s A Wonderful Life," which includes an optional simulcast audio track description on the SAP channel for the visually impaired, narrated by former President George Herbert Walker Bush. NBC will air the special on December 24th at 8:00 p.m.

"The Eyes of Christmas" culminates in a special 30-minute program on Christmas Day at 6:00 a.m. ET on ION Television. Participating stars that will be sharing Holiday messages and support for RPI include Vin Scully Celine Dion, Garth Brooks, Reba McIntyre, Sandra Bullock, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Bob Costas and Natalie Cole. Hollywood studios supporting the show and featuring special film trailers include Universal, Disney, Sony, Fox, and Warner Bros. Harris invites sighted viewers to tune in to take the "traveling eye test." This simple visual test is designed to help people spot possible signs of eye disorders to seek early diagnosis and treatment, possibly averting vision loss.

In addition, RPI is pleased to announce the release of Harris’ autobiography, How To Survive Losing Vision (AuthorHouse). As a homemaker in her 30s, Harris and two out of her three sons were diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. For the next 40 years, she embarked on a mission to find a cure for blindness. The book offers her personal experiences, support and tips for anyone managing and overcoming progressive blindness due to retinal disease. It can be purchased on and at for a suggested retail price of $16.95 (paperback) and $25.95 (hardcover). The book is also available as an e-book and a Kindle version, which is text-to-speech enabled. The audio book version—read by actors William Atherton ("Ghostbusters," "Die Hard," "The Last Samurai") and Golden Globe winner Camryn Manheim ("The Practice," "The Ghost Whisperer")—will be availably by early 2012.

The song, "The Eyes of Christmas" can also be purchased by calling RP International at (818) 992-0631.




About The Eyes of Christmas"

"The Eyes of Christmas" telecast benefits RP International, the nation's leading non-profit fighting Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) and other degenerative eye diseases. NBC will air "It’s a Wonderful Life" nationally in TheatreVision™, narrated by former President George H.W. Bush, on December 24th at 8:00 p.m. This year’s finale to "The Eyes of Christmas" will begin at 6:00 a.m. ET on ION Television Christmas morning. More information is available via RP International's web site,


About RP International (RPI)

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a degenerative, hereditary eye disease that afflicts nearly 3.5 million people worldwide. When diagnosed with the condition 40 years ago, Helen Harris was a homemaker in Pennsylvania. Once she found out that she had passed on RP to two out of her three sons, she started a mission to save vision by founding RP International (RPI). Since then, Harris’ non-profit organization has led the fight against disabling eye diseases that afflict over 31 million people in America and worldwide. RPI has raised over $5 million to date during the past 40 years of telethons and special events, including its annual Vision Awards fundraiser for medical research for restoring vision. RPI is also behind the first successful retinal transplant that has fully restored vision in blind patients. RPI has also enlisted other donors into contributing more than $300 million directly to medical research for eye health. Whether Retinitis Pigmentosa, Macular Degeneration, Usher's Syndrome, Batten's Disease, or other visual impairments, RPI has helped pierce the darkness through the following initiatives: sponsoring medical research and communication amongst leading researchers; providing human services for blind and sight-impaired children, young adults, and seniors; educating the public, the medical profession, and those suffering from disabling eye diseases; pioneering TheatreVision™, an innovative technical development invented at RPI that permits the blind and sight-impaired to watch movies and television with their sighted family and friends; the annual "Eyes of Christmas" special broadcast, raising awareness and bringing holiday cheer to the blind; as well as the annually televised Vision Awards (, which honors major luminaries across the fields of entertainment, science, sports and the arts. Harris has partnered with many of the biggest stars and movie studios to produce TheatreVision™ versions of major feature films, including James Cameron, who lent his voice for the audio description of his blockbuster hit, "Titanic."


Contributions to support RPI’s initiatives to save vision can be made via mail to: RP International, PO BOX 900, Woodland Hills, CA 91367, or online at For information please contact Helen Harris at 818-992-0631, or email