National Braille Press to Honor Boston Mayor Marty Walsh at “A Million Laughs for Literacy” Gala

October 29, 2015

“A Million Laughs for Literacy” Gala Co-Chair Danny Hirce (left) with 14-year-old Connor McLeod

National Braille Press will hold its annual gala, “A Million Laughs for Literacy,” at the Renaissance Waterfront Hotel in Boston on November 12, 2015.  The gala brings together leaders from the community who are committed to National Braille Press’ mission of promoting braille literacy.

At the 2015 “A Million Laughs for Literacy” gala, National Braille Press will present the 2015 President’s Award to Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.  This year, Mayor Walsh advocated for the installation of tactile warning strips and ramps in Beacon Hill, despite resistance from some residents, to make sure the neighborhood was inclusive and available to those with disabilities.

“The National Braille Press and the blind and visually impaired community have a great advocate in Mayor Walsh,” said Brian MacDonald, President of National Braille Press. “We applaud his efforts to gain accessibility for everyone who walks the streets of Beacon Hill.”

Additionally, “A Million Laughs for Literacy” will feature two individuals who have made a significant impact in the blind and visually impaired community: world famous blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, and 14-year-old Connor McLeod.

Erik Weihenmayer has never let his blindness overtake him—he excels in activities such as rock climbing and wrestling, and became the only blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 2001. Since then, he has climbed the tallest peak in every continent.

Connor McLeod began his quest to change his native country of Australia’s national currency when he was just 12 years old.  Blind since birth, Connor started a petition drive and received 57,000 signatures asking the Reserve Bank of Australia to make tactile currency available, making it possible for the blind and visually impaired to more easily identify money.  Connor will receive the “Hands On” award for his diligent passion and drive.

This year’s event is co-chaired by Danny Hirce, Senior Vice President at State Street Bank Corporation, Tom Crohan, Assistant Vice President and Counsel at John Hancock, and Tom Sullivan, CEO and Founder of Lumber Liquidators.

To learn more about National Braille Press, visit To learn more about O’Neill and Associates’ nonprofit work, click here.

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