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Big Blind Walk is set to raise £350,000 for International Research.
Both Opchat News, the vision professionals website and Mylocaloptician are proud media partners supporting the Big Blind Walk.
The walk commences at Land's End on 29th April on its way to John O’Groats taking 7 weeks to complete 1000 miles. There will be celebrities and dignitaries sharing the route and you can follow its progress by visiting the Big Blind Walk website.
Julian Jackson found like many who become totally blind an instinct and an urge to get out and enjoy the open spaces. He has found this new found love of the countryside to have inspired him to research the connectivity with nature.
A little about the man.
Julian Jackson, (pictured at 100% Optical, a major optical congress and one of his major sponsors, became totally blind in 2010 having been told as a young child that he had Retinitis Pigmentosa and would be blind one day.
His life with that threat hanging over him and his eventual blindness has created the determined man he is today.
To convey the message to others on how people with threatening vision loss could be so much better treated by professionals, optometrists, ophthalmologists and the social services has become his life passion.
After his first senseless visit to a faith healer as a child after the diagnosis and of course the many further visits to optometrists and ophthalmologists his condition reduced his peripheral vision and night blindness set in. This became a problem in his international travels as an events organiser but at no point did he receive any help or direction as to who or what organisation could assist him to cope with the development of his disease.
This is not uncommon and neither the medical, primary care or social services seem clued up on what help is available.
Julian became totally blind over a period of three weeks in 2010. Through his own efforts he has located services like Orcam the “visual to verbal” system that allows him to read books, menus and participate in the world.
As he says, “very little news about the successes of international research or appliances in dealing with blinding disease is ever published. There is a tremendous effort from gene therapy research, Argus II implants and an array of useful devices being developed and still much else in the pipeline. We need to raise money to assist in the development of new research and raise the level of understanding and commitment of those in a position in primary care to offer advice and get involved.”
Big Blind Walk Sponsors
His sponsors Second Sight and 100% Optical are assisting him in his “Big Blind Walk” and the money raised will be shared between his charity, Vision Bridge and the National Eye Research Centre who will be receiving 70% of all money raised.
Vision Bridge will use its share to raise the understanding of vision loss and promote the continuation of early research that needs greater pump priming to move it forward.
“There are some great success stories out there with over 300 ocular implants in the world, two of the recipients of which will be on the Big Blind Walk with me", said Julian when we met him at 100% Optical.
Big Interest from BBC
Recently interviewed by Peter White on Radio 4 over 1/2 million people listened to his story which generated some great feedback from NHS Trusts, patient groups and individuals pledging support.
In the lead up to the walk it will be trailed by a Countryfile Edition on BBC1 on April 13th before it commences at Land's End on 29th April on its way to John O’Groats taking 7 weeks to complete 1000 miles.
Julian informs us that there will be some very important public faces joining him along the way, but we are sworn to secrecy.
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