Visionaries Newsletter Winter 2020

A festive scene of presents and wrapping paper with an iPad featuring the Fighting Blindness Christmas appeal

Dear members, supporters and friends,

Welcome to winter edition of our Visionaries newsletter. It has been a year like no other – one we will never forget. As a nation we can be proud of our response, community spirit is alive and well in this country.

As a small Irish charity, we are so grateful for your community spirit and generosity this year, it was a lifeline for our organisation in such a difficult year.

Despite the difficulties faced by the entire country this year, our team – like many members of our community – met the challenge with flexibility, resilience and determination. Our charity not only survived but, in terms of innovation, I’m happy to report that we rose to the challenge.

Our Support Service moved all their services online and saw attendance increase by 400% in some cases. New peer support groups have formed and are at full capacity. This year we supported more people than ever before.

Our two day conference, Retina, also moved to a virtual platform and attendee numbers quadrupled. We attracted delegates and speakers from all over the world – sharing groundbreaking research and knowledge on retinal disease.

Our researchers continued to work hard and just last month a team at Trinity College Dublin, led by Prof Jane Farrar, developed a gene therapy that could potentially lead to a new treatment for an eye disease causing progressive loss of vision. Find out more on page 7.

2021 will bring an opportunity to realise the dream that our founding members had, a cure. Luxturna™ is a new gene therapy for the treatment of inherited retinal diseases.

To make this happen we need your help. On page 11 we outline how you can support our Luxturna™ campaign. There are three simple steps you can take that can make a big impact on the approval of the life-changing gene therapy in Ireland.

Finally, in the coming days we will be sending out our Christmas fundraising appeal, which also features on the front and back pages of this newsletter. The theme is ‘fairytales’ – because our scientists are helping to make fairytales a reality through the discovery of sight restoring therapies. If you can – please consider making a donation to enable us to continue our work in 2021.

Take care of yourself this Christmas, the end of the pandemic is within reach but continue to adhere to the recommended guidelines, we don’t want to fall at the last hurdle.

I, and the entire team, wish you and yours a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

Kindest regards,

Kevin Whelan


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