Fight for Sight supporter named Volunteer of the Year
Fight for Sight Supporter Debbie White has been named ‘Volunteer of the Year’ at the prestigious 2019 Third Sector Award.
The award recognises Debbie's fundraising efforts over 25 years which have raised more than £350,000 for Fight for Sight. This money will help us fund pioneering eye research into preventing sight loss and treating eye disease.
Debbie has been living with Usher syndrome for over 40 years – a rare genetic disorder that results in a combination of hearing loss and visual impairment and is experienced as a result of another condition, retinitis pigmentosa. As a result of her condition, Debbie also has cataracts forming and astigmatism of the eye. Despite knowing that there may not be a breakthrough in her own lifetime to reverse her sight loss, Debbie has been tirelessly fundraising since 1994 to help save the sight of others.
Debbie co-founded and chairs the Fight for Sight Warwickshire Committee, which she set up 25 years ago. In her role as the committee’s chair, Debbie has organised annual golf days at Stoneleigh Deer Park Golf Club, as well as skydives and cycling challenges - to name but a few community events. This year the committee’s annual Warwickshire Golf Day celebrated its 25th year, managing to raise £19,000. Debbie also arranged ‘Skydive for Sight’, an event in which she and 18 others bravely took on a jump of over 10,000ft to raise £22,000.
In addition to fundraising, Debbie recognises the importance of building advocacy and spreading awareness of the need for Fight for Sight’s eye research, having organised and spoken at several community events.
The Third Sector Awards take place annually and are an opportunity for charities, not-for-profits and voluntary organisations of all sizes to celebrate their work and the real difference they make to society. The ‘Volunteer of the Year’ category is designed to award the volunteer who has displayed the greatest commitment and achievement to a charity or voluntary sector organisation over the past year.
Debbie said: “I am absolutely delighted to have won this fantastic award. The research projects Fight for Sight fund are so important to understand conditions like mine. We will only find better treatments and solutions for sight loss through research, hence my passion for fundraising for such an amazing charity.”
Ikram Dahman, Director of Fundraising at Fight for Sight, said: “We are thrilled that Debbie has won the Volunteer of the Year Third Sector award. It is so well-deserved as she has raised over £350,000 for us throughout the years. It’s through the help of our fantastic supporters like Debbie that we are able to fund pioneering research to help stop sight loss and create a future everyone can see.”