Hello and welcome to our brand new Fighting Blindness website. This site has been newly developed with you, our stakeholders, in mind and has gone live in perfect timing to celebrate our 30th anniversary as an organisation. Developed and designed with the intention of being highly accessible, we truly hope that your experience is as informative and efficient as possible. We encourage you to let us know your thoughts and if you have any suggestions as to how we can make our website even better, please contact us and let us know.
For those of you who are new to our organisation, Fighting Blindness began in February 1983, when a group of patients affected by retinal degenerative conditions who got together for support began to wonder: Could there be a CURE?
The patients, none of whom had a background in science, approached Prof. David McConnell in Trinity College, Dublin, to discuss the possibility of launching a feasibility study in the genetics department. The group raised €500,000 to jumpstart the project. In 1989, on the back of that initial funding, the genetics team at TCD located the first known gene responsible for causing retinitis pigmentosa.
Since then, we have funded over 40 separate research projects, not only in inherited eye disease but also common conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. We have invested over €10 million in ground-breaking research on a global level. 90% of this funding is raised through the generosity of your donations. Through your support, we are now on the cusp of therapeutic development.
As headway is made toward the developments of treatments and cures, we provide SUPPORT through our Insight Counselling Centre. Established in 2002 to provide psychotherapy to those affected by sight loss and their families, Insight provides one–to-one counselling and crisis counselling, as well as family, spousal, peer-to-peer and phone support services. Although currently based in Dublin, later this year we will expand the counselling service into the south and west of the country. Through your continued generosity, we hope that this service can continue to grow and be sustained.
As a group both founded and led by patients, our every success is a testament to the power of the patients’ voice: Nothing About Us Without Us! At Fighting Blindness, we enable patients to EMPOWER themselves by involving them not only in our direct activities, but in national projects, including discussion groups and health forums. We keep our members up-to-date about current research developments, both nationally and globally, and work with all stakeholders to advocate for the development of infrastructures to enable Irish patients to have access to clinical trials when opportunities arise. We also advocate for sustainable infrastructures to expedite the development of therapies and ensure equitable access when they become available.
The future has never been brighter for those pursuing treatments for blindness, and this optimism is fuelled by the ever-increasing knowledge and understanding of the conditions that our research provides. Still, so much more needs to be done, and with your help we can continue to SUPPORT and EMPOWER patients as we await the CURE on the horizon.
Join us, and let’s work together to consign blindness to the history books.