Insurance company its4women.ie, which has bases in Swords, Dublin and Coleraine, Northern Ireland, is calling on the public to support its virtual fundraising drive for Fighting Blindness, a patient-led charity funding research into treatments for sight loss. Over a quarter of a million Irish people live with sight loss.
The campaign, Steps for Sight, will see staff at both offices and members of the public tackle a full or half marathon (42km or 21km) at their own pace throughout the month of June.
Participants choose where, when and how to cover their chosen distance and enter a pool to win one of many prizes including a €100 One4all voucher. Top times will also receive a €50 One4all voucher while the top fundraiser will win a goodie-packed hamper.
Speaking about the challenge, Gary McClarty, Chief Executive of MCL InsureTech, the parent company of its4women.ie, said: “We chose Fighting Blindness as one of our nominated charities earlier this year and we have been supporting the team in their efforts to save sight and change lives. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have become acutely aware that the charity sector is facing huge challenges as campaigns have been called off due to distancing protocols.
“Fighting Blindness is doing amazing work to support those living with blindness but also invests in life changing research and we want to ensure they can continue that work during what is a very stressful time for people living with blindness.
“And because usual means of raising money is no longer possible during the pandemic, we decided to launch a virtual campaign that allows participants to dictate how, when and where they complete a full or half marathon while supporting a charity whose end users are facing increased isolation.”
Its4women.ie recently donated €30,000 to assist with the purchase of a Retinal Camera Scanner (RetCam) for The National Maternity Hospital Foundation. The life-changing equipment, which is now in-situ in the neo-natal unit, enables premature babies that are born in the hospital to receive the most advanced sight-saving screening available. Over the course of the next 10 years the RetCam will check the sight of 5,000 premature babies and save the sight of at least 300.
Mr McClarty continued: “We are absolutely thrilled that our donation has contributed to making such a life-changing difference and what better year to be highlighting the importance of 20/20 vision than in 2020. Our team is looking forward to working with Fighting Blindness over the coming years to help them achieve their goals of supporting and empowering people with sight loss.”
Discussing the support, Kevin Whelan, CEO of Fighting Blindness said: “We are delighted that its4women.ie insurance has selected Fighting Blindness as one of their nominated charities. Our fundraising opportunities in 2020 are significantly decreased but the demand for our service continues to increase. We greatly welcome this additional support.
“We’re the only Irish charity funding research into treatments for sight loss – giving people, both young and old, hope for the future. We’re also the main source of specialised counselling support for people living with sight loss and their families. 90% of our income is generated through fundraising, so the generosity of corporate partners and the Irish public is vital.
“We’re deeply grateful to its4women.ie and everyone who is taking part in Steps for Sight or has already donated. We look forward to working in partnership with its4women.ie to delivering outcomes that change lives for the better.”
Fighting Blindness ambassador and Irish Paralympian, Peter Ryan said: “It’s unbelievable that such a small nation is doing world-leading research into conditions causing sight loss. Money raised in communities around Ireland is funding research which is having a worldwide impact. It really says everything about the organisation and campaigns and drives like this, when the charity sector is facing real hurdles, will ensure this pioneering work continues.”
To get involved in the Steps for Sight challenge, check out: www.steps4sight.com