Local Garrett Randolph is losing his eyesight, & our community can help him keep it
But not many are aware that for the past 10 years, Garrett has been battling an eye disease called Keratoconus.
“I was diagnosed at 13 by Dr. Jonathan Hartley here in Cody,” said Garrett, now 20. “Keratoconus is where your cornea, instead of being shaped like a normal round cornea – like a basketball, is pointed like a football. With keratoconus, it’s almost a jagged shape, like a mountain range. Essentially, it’s a misshapen cornea.”
As Garrett’s condition has gradually worsened over the past decade, and exponentially so in the past year and half, he’s seeking the one sure shot he feels he has to keep his vision: Surgery. Specifically, INTACS for Keratoconus Treatment, during which semi-permanent inserts are put in to remedy the Keratoconus.
Garrett is seeking to go to the man who himself invented this procedure to cure Keratoconus – Dr. Boxer Wachler in Beverly Hills.
“This procedure has a 99% success rate, and it’s a short, easy, 15-minute procedure,” Garrett said. “After Dr. Boxer Wachler invented the procedure, he became famous in the early 2000s when an Olympic bobsledder who had what I have was going to be forced to quit bobsledding because he couldn’t see. He had the procure done, got his eyesight back, and won Olympic Gold. His vision was so clear after the surgery, he actually had to fog his goggles a bit to distort it to what he was used to.”
For Garrett, the obstacle with this procedure lies not in the success rate or difficulty, but rather the financial aspect.
“Insurance won’t cover it, and it’s $21,000 for the surgery,” said Garrett. “Even though the success rate is so high, the insurance company won’t cover a dime because they see it as experimental.”
Day by day, Garrett is losing more of his eyesight. He is now turning to the Cody community to help him afford the surgery and keep his sense of sight.
On Saturday, Nov. 7 starting at 6:30 pm at the Bandana Room of the Holiday Inn, will be EYE AM GARRETT. This benefit will feature many local live music acts, live local comedy, a silent auction and raffle, locally made jewelry and more. All proceeds from the event will go toward helping to fund Garrett’s surgery.
“I’m really confident I can raise the money living in a town like Cody, Wyoming,” said Garrett. “I wouldn’t feel confident in the heart of Brooklyn or the suburbs of Boston. We live in a community where people gather and people love to help people. We have an artistic movement going on so we can offer entertainment to community.”
With so many local businesses (Sports HQ, Juniper, Legends and more) and artists donating their retail and talents to the event, Garrett can feel the love.
“Everyone so far has been really great – People have been more than happy to donate or offer their services, and that means a lot,” said Garrett. “Even if it’s not a huge success raising money, it’s going to be a fun night.”
His family also has offered invaluable support to Garrett throughout the years since his diagnosis, and now as he battles to obtain a cure for his disease. It was Garrett’s father’s idea to put on this music/art benefit in the first place, and the copper jewelry that will be sold at the event is made by Garrett’s mother.
Garrett hopes to raise the funds during this event (and other community donations) to have his surgery by next month.
“We want to get it done by the end of November, which I know is blissful thinking,” Garrett said. “Realistically I hope to get it done between November and January – as soon as we can. Dr. Boxer’s office is hounding us to set a date – the more I wait, the harder it is to fix, and the more my eyesight goes. It’s a condition that gets worse with each passing day.”
Eyesight is not something anyone should have to face losing, especially when there’s a near-guaranteed cure.
“I love to read, and it’s a struggle to get through a book now,” Garrett said. “I am very lucky that I have my music, which is audible, but trying to write songs can be tough. And working with my brother [Preston, at Cactus Productions] to help film is really getting to be a challenge.”
And Garrett doesn’t want to lose his ability to take in his home, which just happens to be one of the most beautiful spots on earth.
“Living in a place like Wyoming, who doesn’t want to be able to see the stuff we have around?” Garrett said. “I can breathe really well with the fresh, high air in Yellowstone, but last time I went there to visit, already it’s starting to become just a blur.”
Check out what live acts you can expect the night of Nov. 7 at EYE AM GARRETT: