I will be hiking my way across both New Zealand's islands, South and North, with the occasion kayak where required (and to mix things up a bit). And I will be keeping you updated along the way as I journey my way across the Te Araroa, a pathway that runs the length of the picturesque country that is New Zealand.
So what will they do with the money raised?
The Gift of Sight Appeal was established with the aim of funding world-class research into the prevention and treatment of blindness.
The Gift of Sight Eye Research Centre is based at Southampton General Hospital in Hampshire, United Kingdom. Their areas of research are age related macular degeneration (the commonest cause of blindness in the Western world), nystagmus, inherited retinal diseases, glaucoma, corneal conditions and diabetic eye disease and conditions which affect a huge number of patients throughout the UK.
Scientists in the University of Southampton, in England, led by Mr Jay Self, have worked in the past few years to improve genetic diagnosis in order to help patients and families know who else in the family may get nystagmus. It is also necessary for patients to understand from a young age what their vision is going to be like throughout life, to identify disorders which already have established treatments and to discover new therapies for nystagmus.
With the advance of new technology, and the advent of high-throughput drug screening, it is now possible to screen a vast number of medicines in a quick and efficient way in the laboratory in order to discover which ones may help to treat forms of nystagmus for which we now understand the underlying genetic cause.
Jay is seeking to fund a project to show that this approach is fruitful and worthwhile, using a bank of novel medications and some recently developed laboratory assays, combined with genetic mutations identified in patients with nystagmus. It is anticipated that this proof-of-concept study will allow scientists to open up a field of research enabling them to diagnose more patients and most importantly, to potentially discover new medical treatments.
Along with your help, I am hoping to raise £5,000 to pay for the drug panels involved in this research. And hoping I can surpass that, my next target will be to raise £10k to pay for the cell lines and testing as well as the panels.
Find more details of the great work Gift of Sight are doing at: