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Tucson comedian, friends doing show to pay for daughter's vision therapy

Tucson comedian, friends doing show to pay for daughter's vision therapy

Tucson comedian Pauly Casillas is getting together with a few of his ha-ha buddies for a benefit concert that hits close to home.

Casillas and Tucson pals Matt Ziemak, Joe Tullar and Olivia Grace will join Phoenix comedians Michael Paul Kohn and Eric Sobczak for “Laughs for Lucy” at Borderlands Brewing Company downtown on Thursday, July 11. Proceeds from the comedy show will help pay for the last four months of Casillas’s daughter Lucy’s 10-month-long vision therapy.

Lucy, 8, was diagnosed two years ago with amblyopia, a disorder sometimes referred to as “lazy eye,” in which vision is distorted and blurry. Casillas said they discovered his daughter had it in both eyes after she started playing T-ball and didn’t react whenever a ball was thrown. Casillas said he believes his daughter never developed those visual reflexes because she never learned to crawl.

“She skipped crawling and went straight to walking,” said Casillas, who holds down a day job in the repair shop of a local car dealership and performs standup a few times a month at Laffs Comedy Caffe and in several Phoenix comedy clubs.

He said his daughter missed out on developing peripheral vision that comes with crawling.

Casillas said vision therapy isn’t covered by insurance and the cost is nearly $10,000. Last October, Casillas’s family held a golf fundraiser, which, combined with other contributions, covered six of the 10 months of therapy.

Lucy’s vision has shown significant improvement because of the therapy, Casillas said, including in the areas of reading, writing and math. She also is able to play catch and clearly see birds and airplanes in the sky and animals on the ground.

Laughs For Lucy” begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at Borderlands, 119 E. Toole Ave. Admission is $20 at the door. Donations also are being accepted through

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch

Cathalena has covered music for the Star for the past 20 years. She's a graduate of Arizona State University has worked at Sedona Red Rock News, Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, New York; and USA Today.

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