Apl.de.ap launches project to help blind Pinoy kids

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jun 06 2014 04:13 PM | Updated as of Jun 09 2014 07:03 PM

LOS ANGELES - He once aspired to be an architect or a nurse. But born with a rare eye condition, teachers gave Allan Pineda Lindo little hope.

"You're blind. What are you going to be when you grow up? Yeah. I'm like 'You're right'," he said.

Lindo grew up to be apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas.

From Grammy Awards to Superbowls and The Voice Philippines, the legally blind artist continues to find ways to help the less fortunate.

He unveiled a project to combat blindness in the Philippines.

Close to 5,000 premature births in the Philippines result in blindness.
 
"It's really important for me to support other kids with disability cause I don't want them to go through what I went through and for them to get discouraged and not pursue their dreams," he explained.

Under the Apple of My Eye Program, which has partnered with the Campaign for Filipino Children, Children's Hospital Los Angeles Vision Center will work with Philippine hospitals and oversee eye operations and will help train doctors to address eye problems.

"We have been in the process of developing an online training program that can be deployed over the internet to train doctors and develop in countries how to diagnose and treat preventable forms of blindness," said Thomas Lee of the Children's Hospital in LA.

Apl himself has been seeking treatment, undergoing a surgery nearly two years ago. Though his eye sight is better, he still uses other senses when he performs.

"I would say about 5% better cause what they did was inserted a lens in my retina so when the lens is closer to you retina your vision gets better. It's healthier. I can swim underwater with my eyes open," he said.

Western Union gave $150,000 to start the project. Apl will raise half a million dollars for the two-year campaign.

Two of his upcoming concerts, including one this weekend in LA's Greek Theater, will help victims of typhoon Yolanda, as well as raise funds for his Apple of My Eye Program.