Last weekend, at the Volunteer Ireland Awards, one of our star fundraisers walked away with the top prize in the Health & Disability category.
Eric Beggs has supported our charity for over 15 years and to date has raised €150,000 through fundraising activities.
Eric was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in his forties and has no eyesight left as a result. His friend Peter, who is sadly now deceased, introduced Eric to Fighting Blindness and fundraising. Since then, he has completed treks, tandem cycles, Easter egg hunts, church gate collections and more to raise money.
Eric is tireless in his efforts, he said: “I have organised many events over the years. I don’t care what I have to do as long as it works and helps to find a breakthrough. I think it’s probably too late to find something to help me now but, as long as there is breath in my body, I’ll keep working until they find something that can help younger people from losing any more sight.”
He has always organised events that capture the imagination and engage the community. He began fundraising primarily through church gate collections and taking part in sponsored walks. However, in 2014 he decided to take his fundraising one step further and started the annual Cooley Mountain Trek. The event was a sponsored trek through the beautiful Cooley Mountains. Eric organised the whole event with the help of his family. He secured lots of local sponsors, refreshments for participants, post-event entertainment and lots of coverage in local media. The inaugural event raised €7,217 and Eric went on to run six more Cooley Treks before his last one in 2019. The final 2019 Cooley Mt Trek raised €10,500!
Today, Eric is taking a backseat on the fundraising front but still regularly organises church gate collections for us. He is an inspiration and a Fighting Blindness hero.
Congratulations Eric – and thank you for everything you do in the fight against blindness.