Joe is a friend of mine from university and he is the Press Association’s Chief Political Correspondent at Westminster. Although his name is not a household one all of you will have read his written work, as it is his reports that form the basis for many of the newspaper and other media articles reporting on the debates in Parliament and the wider musings of our political class.
Joe has Retinitis Pigmentosa a congenital condition which causes you to go slowly blind. At 42 Joe has no night vision at all and a cone of vision less than 30 degrees across (the rest of us have about 160 degrees). This makes crossing the road extremely difficult (and dangerous) and even walking along the pavement challenging as he can’t see drops in the height of the pavement, bollards or even pets and small children (Robbie has been tripped over many a time!). Despite this he has raised tens of thousands of pounds over the years for the charity RP Fighting Blindness and has done this by climbing the likes of Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Toukbal as well as crossing Iceland and the Sahara despite his disability.
The really exciting bit is that after years of being resigned to going blind Joe now has the tantalising chance of a genuine cure within his lifetime. The money that he and many others have raised has made RP one of the conditions at the forefront of gene therapy and so it is even more vital that we keep up the momentum and raise the money to keep this successful research progressing.
So he’s now roped Helen and I into actually helping out with the fund raising rather than just sponsoring him and next month we are off to Scotland to climb Ben Nevis. Clearly that wasn’t hard enough for Joe so after we’ve climbed Ben Nevis we’re cycling up to Loch Lochy, canoeing round that and then riding back to Fort William before we’re finally allowed to call it a day (good job it will be on the longest day of the year and we’re a long way up North!).
Please do give as generously as you can to this really great cause.
Please visit www.justgiving.com/bennevisrp <http://www.justgiving.com/bennevisrp> and donate as much as you can and remember to Gift Aid your donation as that means RP Fighting Blindness get another 25p for every £1 you are able to donate. If you’re inspired by the story please feel free to share it more widely, the more we can raise the better.
Thank you so much for your generosity we all really appreciate it.