Fight for Sight supporter to complete Clipper Round the World Yacht Race for eye research

22 August 19

written by:

Alice Mitchell

(more articles)

On 1st September, Redmile-based Andy Harrhy (68) will begin the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to raise money for Fight for Sight. A friend of Andy’s, Jill, has a teenage son named Sam with a condition called Stargardt disease.

Stargardt is a rare inherited eye condition in which the light-sensitive layer of cells in the macular region of the eye degenerate, causing progressive loss of vision. The macula is the area at the back of the eye responsible for the fine detailed vision necessary for activities such as watching TV and reading.

As a result of having the condition, Sam struggles with basic everyday tasks such as seeing the board at school and watching television. Since Stargardt is a degenerative eye condition, his vision is likely to get worse over time. Currently there is no cure for the disease.

Andy will therefore be raising money for Fight for Sight's pioneering eye research, to help fund the next breakthrough in treating conditions like Stargardt, as well as others like glaucoma and macular degeneration. There are currently over two million people living with sight loss in the UK, and by 2050 this is set to double to four million.

Sam’s mother, Jill Myers, last year took on an epic 450-mile bike ride from San Francisco to LA to raise money for Fight for Sight.

Departing from St Katherine Docks, Andy and his team will eventually sail through storms in the South Atlantic, intense tropical cyclones in the North Pacific, and the ‘roaring forties’ of the Southern Ocean. They will sail for an entire year and arrive back to the UK by August 2020.

He said: “I am really looking forward to this immense challenge and to raise money for a dear friend of mine’s son, Sam, whose condition has severely impacted his life and that of his parents. Currently there is no cure, but pioneering research is underway and funding is needed to help Fight for Sight in their mission to stop sight loss.”

Sam’s mother, Jill, said: “We know there is no cure but we want to believe that there will be one. The only way we will get there is through research – to find a new treatment that will help make things better for Sam in the future.”

Ed Jackson, events manager at Fight for Sight, said: “A huge thank you and enormous kudos to Andy for this huge undertaking in aid of Fight for Sight. We know that sight loss doesn’t have to be inevitable - it’s through our fantastic supporters raising money for research that we will find the next breakthrough. We will be following Andy’s travels and supporting him along the way and wish him the best of luck.”

Andy will depart 1st September 2019 and will return in August 2020. He is hoping to reach his fundraising target of £5,000. Followers will be able to track his progress by visiting the Clipper Round the World website and entering the team name ‘GOTOBERMUDA’ into the race viewer.

Donate via Andy’s fundraising page here.

More information on how you can fundraise for us can be found here.