My Walking CHALLENGE IN 2018

I am planning to walk approximately 1,000 miles through Great Britain, starting on Sunday 29 April 2018 at Land’s End (Cornwall) and finishing at John O’Groats (Scotland) sometime around 22 June, taking approximately 7 weeks to complete this challenge. Click on my planned Route for more details.

Route

Accompanied and guided by friends and colleagues, , members of the public, voluntary sector representatives and patient support groups, researchers, eye health and health care professionals, I will be visiting eye clinics, eye hospitals and community centres along the route, sharing experiences with patients and practitioners and promoting the wonders of eye research!

I tandem cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End in 2010 and so I now want to turn around and do it all again, getting up even more close and personal with the different terrains, environments and communities throughout the country and encourage others, sighted and less sighted to join me on this adventure. My training regime starts during December, so feel free to visit my blog and keep pace with me! 

Sponsors and Partner

I am so grateful for the tremendous financial and promotional support provided by my official partner National Eye Research Centre (NERC) and my two leading sponsors Second Sight and 100% Optical. Please read more about them on their respective pages.

 

Blog

About Me

I lost my sight in 2010 to a retinal inherited disease and therefore I have a personal as well as professional interest in the daily battles being waged in hospitals, eye clinics and universities across the UK to prevent sight loss, treat eye disease, restore sight and of course improve the quality of life for patients through enhanced rehabilitation. I have personally overcome many challenges and I am totally convinced that ongoing eye research will continue to provide solutions that will give those wrestling with avoidable and unavoidable sight loss so much more hope, independence, mobility, financial independence and emotional well being.

However, we need to raise the general level of awareness around sight loss, introduce everyone to this incredible scientific world of discovery and innovation and encourage people to financially support eye research if we are to continue this progress towards a future where everyone can see! I hope my walk will go a long way in reaching these goals and supporting the aims below.

The key Aims of my walking challenge
  • Raise awareness and understanding of sight loss
  • Drive vision and eye health up the public health agenda
  • Promote the critical role that eye research plays in the prevention of sight loss, treatment of eye disease, rehabilitation of patients and the restoration of sight
  • Establish an eye research fund to build on already proven research and to support UK based research centres of excellence in retaining the best minds in eye research
My key messages
  • Sight loss is a clear and present danger. Avoidable and unavoidable sight loss in the UK are growing and projected to reach 4 million people by 2040, resulting in significant social, psychological, emotional and economic impacts.
  • Eye research is the best kept secret in the UK and this has to change. This world of discovery, innovation and achievement needs to be exposed and celebrated.
  • Increased funding is critical to support prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and cures for sight loss.
  • The science behind correcting and enhancing vision as well as protecting, preserving and restoring sight goes hand in hand with the practical support for the visually impaired and blind.
  • Take responsibility for your eyes. Early detection and making the right lifestyle choices are key.
  • Sight loss does not have to result in lack of hope, motivation or mobility.
  • Greater access to more community based eye care services is critically important.
How you can help

If you would like to share any useful tips you may have about my planned route, guide me or just keep me company along some of the way, introduce me to potential sponsors, generate some media interest and encourage as many people as possible to fundraise and donate, then please do click on the Contact button.

Guiding me

A huge thank you to anybody brave enough to volunteer themselves as a guide for some of the way. I adopt a “you lead and I follow” approach which is very low tech and involves some kind of toggle that we both hold on to, allowing me to walk alongside my guide so that I can be “steered” either left or right. I will always walk on the right of my guide so I can grip my white cane in my right hand. Be prepared for lots of questions from me about the terrain and surrounding area and the general walking conditions! Social media coverage is a key aspect of my walk so I will invite all guides and walking companions to take as much film footage as possible, recording places, faces and experiences for live and future broadcast. If you feel up for a 20-25 mile walk on any one day of this walking challenge, then feel free to contact me. Guides are welcome to stay for more than one day as a support vehicle will be on hand at all times with food, medical support and ample space to rest. A luxury tent in close proximity to the support vehicle is available for overnight accommodation.

To donate directly to my walking challenge and help us continue the fight against sight loss, please click here. Thank you so much.