Visionaries Newsletter Autumn 2021

Image of Orla Comerford
Orla Comerford, Fighting Blindness Ambassador and Paralympian

Dear members, supporters and friends,

I hope this newsletter finds you and yours healthy and safe.

As the pandemic has unfolded, we have all been faced with many challenges that have forced us to find new ways to adapt and perhaps rethink how we live our lives. That is also true of Fighting Blindness and we are continuing to innovate to research, support and advocate. Do not hesitate to contact us, as we will help in any way we can.

Faced with continued uncertainty, we have once again made the decision to host our annual Retina conference online. We will miss the opportunity to connect with you in person, but safety remains the priority. We will be providing support for those who require assistance with accessing the event through their digital device.

On Friday 5 November we will again be joined by the world’s leading researchers and clinicians and the theme is gene therapy. A selection of speakers include Professor Brendan Buckley, Chairman Fighting Blindness, Michael Griffith, Founder Fighting Blindness, Dr. Christina Zeitz, INSERM, France and Dr. Orla Galvin, Retina International.

On the Public Engagement Day (Saturday 6 November) we’ll welcome a selection of fantastic speakers including Breandan Ward, Ben Shaberman and Jake Ternent who was the first recipient of gene therapy Luxturna in the UK. Jake will tell us the impact of this treatment on his life. Head to our events page to book your free ticket. I look forward to seeing you all there.

We are calling on the HSE to reimburse the life-changing gene therapy, Luxturna. We have lobbied our political leaders throughout this year, and continue to ask officials at the Department of Health and HSE management to make this treatment available to those citizens who could have their sight loss stabilised or their vision improved by this treatment.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took part in or donated to our various fundraising initiatives over the past few months. With your continued support we have been able to commission further key research that is outlined on page 5 of the newsletter. In addition to its4women and JCDecaux as our corporate sponsors we are also delighted to announce our partnership with Specsavers.

The outpouring of support and generosity – particularly during such a difficult time – is incredible.

From the Fighting Blindness team and our board – thank you.

Kindest regards,
Kevin Whelan

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