Big Blind Walk 2018!

To paraphrase Winston Churchill

“This is the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end.”

The Big Blind Walk 2018 may be over, but the fight to prevent sight loss, treat eye disease, restore sight and rehabilitate patients goes on! Don’t forget, eye research is still sadly one of the best kept secrets in the UK and one of the most underfunded areas of medical research, despite the fact that over 83% of people regularly say that sight is the one sense they most fear losing.

The Big Blind Walk has raised in excess of £33,000 and my efforts will continue to double this figure by 1 October 2018 and then beyond this to the magic figure of £350,000.

I am eternally indebted to all my sponsors, retail partner, charity partner, media partner, individual donors, guides and walking companions, support team and supporting organisations and the media for their extraordinary contributions in helping me to raise awareness of the many and varied impacts of sight loss, promote eye research and generate much needed funds to develop the science behind sight.

I want to especially thank my guides who gave up their precious time and put their busy lives on hold to expertly navigate the route, steer me around obstacles and over difficult terrain, constantly describe the environment around me and generally keep me going during many long days. 

I reserve my biggest thank you to my wife Laura and daughter Imogen who showed such patience, resilience and resolve in the face of many challenges in supporting the Big Blind Walk and keeping me so focused and fit over 8 weeks.

Over 1,000 miles and 2 months later, my faith in humankind is stronger than ever. The generosity, kindness, good will and sheer humanity shown towards me and my amazing guides by passers-by in towns and villages, on top of hills and along roads and country trails, in woods and fields and alongside rivers and canals was truly breathtaking. The most exciting thing of all was that they appreciated the critical importance of nailing the causes of sight loss and not solely managing the symptoms of sight loss and simply providing practical support, however understandably important this is.

Please continue to spread the word about our world class eye researchers who work so tirelessly to improve our understanding of the patterns and processes of eye disease, improve treatments, improve detection and diagnosis, improve the identification and characterisation of genes and the rehabilitation of patients and so much more. They need the funds to carry on with their vital work. The DONATE page will remain live until 1 October 2018.

If you would like to retrace any part of the Big Blind Walk in future and raise funds for critical eye research, then please do contact me on julian@visionbridge.org.uk and we can make a plan.

Happy walking!

 

Charity Partner Retail Partner Media Partner Sponsors

About Julian Jackson

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
  • Increased funding is critical to support prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and cures for sight loss.
  • Sight loss is a clear and present danger. Avoidable and unavoidable sight loss in the UK is 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

Please spread the word via social media and follow, like and share my previous and future posts. I am active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

You can download Big Blind Walk posters from the Promotion page. Speak to your local and regional media contacts and encourage them to contact me for interviews. My mobile number is 07773 800073. I am available throughout the walk. Examples of articles and radio interviews can be found on the NEWS page and the Video Streaming button for reference.

To donate directly to the eye research fund administered by my charity partner the National Eye Research Centre (NERC), to help us continue the fight against sight loss, please CLICK HERE.

Thank you so much.

 

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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.