Father Tackles Mount Kilimanjaro to help Son’s Fight for Sight

13 January 17

written by:

Heather Fanning

(more articles)

Kevin Coghlan proves there ‘ain’t no mountain high enough’ as he faces his toughest challenge yet to help raise vital funds for eye research.

Kevin, 39, from Hertfordshire, will take part in an eight day Mount Kilimanjaro trek on 21 January 2017, along with his step-mother, Nicola, 47, from Hatfield, to raise awareness of his son’s Jackson fight for sight.

Jackson, eight, was diagnosed with a rare inherited eye disorder, called Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), at just two and a half months old. It has already robbed him of his central vision, leaving him with only a small percentage of peripheral vision and he is registered blind.

The condition affects 2 or 3 in every 100,000 people and Kevin has been there every step of the way to help him. Watching his son face this tough challenge has inspired Kevin to go the distance for the UK’s leading eye research charity Fight for Sight.

Kevin has been training hard and climbed Mount Snowdon in 2016 as a practice trek. He said: “Jackson is an inspiration he shows so much strength and courage living with his sight loss every day. I wanted to show him he can face any challenge and that’s why I’m pushing myself to my limits. Raising awareness and much needed funds so that one day Jackson may be able to see will be worth all the pain.”

The family have been supporters of the charity for a number of years and have raised £20,000. Kevin’s Mount Kilimanjaro climb has raised an additional £5,000 to date and you can donate by texting KILI17 £10 to 70070 or donate any amount online.

Support from families like the Coghlans has helped Fight for Sight fund research that led to the world’s first clinical trial of gene therapy for one form of LCA (caused by faults in the RPE65 gene). Unfortunately Jackson has a different mutation – CRB1 which is still at present incurable.

Dr Dolores Conroy, Director of Research at Fight for Sight said: “The major strands of LCA research are finding the remaining genes that cause the condition and trying to develop new treatments. These include gene replacement therapy, new drugs and transplanting new retinal cells that have been developed from stem cells.

Never before has the need for funding been so important and we’re grateful to Kevin and Nicola for supporting the fight against sight loss.”

Jackson said: “I wanted to wish dad and nanny the very best of luck with their climb. It’s a really big mountain and I hope they reach the top – please support them every step of the way.” 

Read more of the family's story in The Guardian.

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