On February 9, 2013, Fighting Blindness will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its founding at a Gala Awards Dinner in the Shelbourne Hotel Dublin. On the night we will honor those who have worked towards the development of a CURE, who have provided us with much needed SUPPORT and who have worked tirelessly to EMPOWER patients living with sight loss. We hope that you can celebrate with us by taking a table at the event for €1000.
Irish research funded by Fighting Blindness has made a global impact in the search for therapies and CURES for conditions causing sight loss. In 1983, the patients who founded the organisation met regularly to help each other cope with the reality of degenerating vision. There was no treatment, nor was there real hope of one. Now not only do we understand how the conditions develop, but we also know what the treatments will look like.
Since its founding, Fighting Blindness has invested over €10 million in Irish research, and our goal of cures and treatments is in sight. One of our projects has entered the pre-clinical trail phase, and we hope it will be the first gene therapy for a form of degenerative blindness. Our research is also contributing to international discoveries and developments and many clinical trials are being undertaken in both genetically inherited and age related conditions.
Still, we remain concerned by the escalation in cases of sight loss in recent years, particularly in the aging population. Over 224,000 Irish people and 40 million worldwide are affected by severe vision loss—we believe that this is too many. Sight loss costs the Irish government over €1 million a day (€380 million annually). Now is the time to invest in vital research to prevent these conditions occurring where possible, improve the quality of life for those living with sight loss and enhance Ireland’s reputation for innovation.
SUPPORT remains central to Fighting Blindness. The diagnosis of a condition causing sight loss can be devastating; not only to families with a known history of the condition but also to those who had no idea they could be affected. The sudden (or even gradual) transition from a sighted to an unsighted world not only carries huge challenges for the person affected, but also places great responsibilities on all members of the family. In cases of degenerative diseases of the eye, there can often be a fear of the unknown and unknowable. The Insight Counselling Centre, established by Fighting Blindness in 2002, provides a unique support service to those living with sight loss. It is vital that this service is expanded nationally. With your help in 2013 we can do just that to ensure that as many people as possible get the support they need.
The EMPOWERMENT of patients and their representatives has always been a central goal of Fighting Blindness. Since our inception, we have worked with like-minded stakeholders in Ireland, throughout the EU and globally to ensure the patients’ voice is heard in all decisions that affect them: Nothing About Us Without Us. As research advances, it becomes a truly global effort to develop treatments and bring them to the market, so it is fair to say our real work starts now. Fighting Blindness educates and trains patient advocates to use their voice to influence positive change. This too could not be achieved without your generosity.
Ultimately, the world-class research based in Ireland founded and funded by Fighting Blindness has made remarkable progress in the search for the causes, the potential treatments and the eventual cures for blindness. To find the CURE, and to SUPPORT and EMPOWER our members all over the country, we must raise €2.4 million in 2013. 90% of our funding comes from you, our friends and supporters, and we are asking you to help us to realise our goals by supporting our Fighting Blindness Gala Awards Celebration on February 9. Tables are priced at €1000 for ten and all of the details are contained on the attached flyer. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I do hope that you can join us on February 9, until then may I wish you a very happy and prosperous 2013!