MANCHESTER — In the middle of the genial chaos at the Lions Club, Ruth Short of Farmingdale wiped the tears from her eyes Saturday morning for maybe the second time, and she expected to do it many more times before the day was done.

All around her, people milled about, waiting for the event of the day, a local version of “The Amazing Race,” to kick off. Even though the teams were gearing up for the race and challenges they faced in the style of the reality television show competition, they already had done the most important work of the day.

They had raised the $7,000 that Short needs to be able to buy specialized glasses that will help her see again, and just a little bit more that will go into a fund to help someone else.

Short, 56, has macular degeneration, macular edema and glaucoma. The diseases that affect the retina and the optic nerve have robbed Short of much of her vision. Because she can see only shadows, she has never clearly seen her grandson or her great-grandchild.

But in a little over a month, Short will be able to see whatever she wants, including her great-grandson, who was born just five weeks ago.

The company eSight has created a visor with LED screens that capture in real time what’s going on and allow the wearer to see it clearly. The glasses can take pictures or be plugged into a computer.

Once the results of Saturday’s fundraiser are in, Short’s daughter, Elizabeth Ward, will be able to order the visor. Short has chosen the white version.

The Lions Club has made helping the blind and visually impaired one of its key missions.

Debbie Maddox was the Manchester Lions Club president last year when Ward was seeking a donation for her mom. The club obliged with $500.

But Maddox, who is a fan of “The Amazing Race,” also had the idea to develop a central Maine version as a fundraiser.

Fifteen two-person teams took part in Saturday’s race.

The race course took teams to businesses and public spaces in Augusta, Hallowell, Gardiner and Manchester. Before they were done, they would have to complete specific challenges.

The teams’ first challenge was to take turns shucking a dozen ears of corn. At Sparetime Recreation, they had to bowl a strike and score a specific number of points to continue.

In Gardiner, the teams’ challenge was to assemble a picnic table for the Boys and Girls Club of Kennebec Valley.

Maddox said Saturday’s race was the result of three solid months of planning, lining up sponsors and organizing the challenges.

Among the teams competing were Short’s grandson Jozef Short and his cousin Kassandra Rolling, both 17.

Jessica Lowell can be contacted at 621-5632 or at:

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Twitter: JLowellKJ