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Restaurateur hopes to set unique record, raise money for uveitis research
KINGSTON — At approximately 5 p.m. July 7 at Kola Kole Park, Ross McCurdy will throw a grape forward into the air, sprint and attempt to catch the grape in his mouth. McCurdy, owner of the Oak Table Cafe, will try to set a Guinness World Record for grape catching - greatest distance caught (self-thrown). But the main reason for the effort is to raise money for uveitis research.
"We want to give as much time and energy into supporting the Uveitis Foundation," McCurdy said.
McCurdy's 7-year-old daughter, Mira, has uveitis. It's something she and her family have dealt with since her medical procedures to battle junior rheumatoid arthritis.
Though the arthritis has been in remission for five years, the uveitis is a reality. McCurdy said his family wants to raise money for the foundation so "the next little girl that comes along with it will have an easier time."
So far, Mira has received more than 50 infusions and approximately 300 shots. They have tried 12 different medications.
Uveitis is swelling and irritation of the center of the eye, or uvea. The uvea supplies blood to the retina. If not treated, it can lead to blindness. It is the third-leading cause of blindness.
The McCurdys spend four to five days of the month in the hospital while Mira is treated.
Mira, a Gordon Elementary student, takes it in stride. She's done presentations at school about the symptoms she's had since she was 2. But the family tries to focus on the positive side of things. The world record attempt may be a good example of that.
To raise money for research, McCurdy will attempt to break the current record of 28 feet 2 inches held by Ashrita Furman of New York. The record was set on Feb. 26, 2011.
Before breaking the record, anyone interested may make a donation. Those who donate can guess what McCurdy's attempt will be and have the opportunity to win a gift basket from the Oak Table. Ten people have signed up so far.
It's not the first record attempt. A previous attempt easily broke the record, but a video shot to verify the attempt was not accepted by Guinness World Records.
However, McCurdy said he has "shattered" the current 28-foot record.
McCurdy also holds the world record for most eggs cracked in one minute with one hand behind his back — 32 eggs. Practicing for the attempt hasn't been without its wounds. McCurdy said his face has been bruised by being hit by so many seeded grapes.
"It's pretty significant in the damage it does," he said. "But in a fun way."
As for fundraising expectations, McCurdy said the family will be happy with whatever they get.