Fight for Sight supporter taking on 50 challenges at 50 to raise money for eye research

10 March 21

written by:

Róisín Treacy

(more articles)

A woman standing on top of a green hill, holding a medal.

Fight for Sight supporter Victoria Humphries is taking on 50 challenges in honour of her 50th birthday to raise money for eye research.

Victoria, who is from Bath, has the eye condition keratoconus, which causes the cornea to become progressively thinner and weaker over time, eventually causing a cone-shaped protrusion to develop. This causes blurred and distorted sight as it prevents the light that enters the eye from being correctly focused.

Victoria recalls driving up the motorway one day in her late 20’s and suddenly realising she couldn’t read the signs properly – she went to her local optician for a check up. The optician happened to be an expert in keratoconus and spotted instantly that this was what Victoria had.

In 2009, Victoria had corneal cross linking in one eye and since then she has sourced special contacts that have significantly improved her quality of life, but she believes much more research is needed into the condition.

She said: “Keratoconus is a condition that is rarely focussed on and the long-term prognosis isn’t great, as my sight is getting worse. No-one really knows how much the condition affects me. I always have red eyes and people are often asking me if I had a good night out or am I OK? I just laugh and come up with some excuse. My contacts get 'stuck' in my eye and it can take 15 mins of sheer agony to try to get them out at night-time. I don't like driving somewhere I don't know at night as I have double vision. The more research that we can fund into keratoconus the better.”

Victoria loves to take on major challenge events and in 1997, she was part of the first all-female expedition to the North Pole. She decided as she approached her 50th birthday to set herself 50 challenges and raise money for charity along the way.

A woman standing at a sign at the summit of Kilimanjaro. The mountain is covered in snow and she's wearing walking gear and smiling.

In January 2020, Victoria climbed Kilimanjaro and hopes to run the London Marathon next year, however she has planned a variety of other activities.

She said: “I love the slightly more wild challenges which are in my comfort zone, but I am a really traditional person so I’ve also decided I’m going to do things like dye my hair and do a stand-up routine, which terrify me. I’d rather run 10 marathons than do either of those, but that is exactly the reason why I am determined to do as many of these kinds of challenges as possible.”

Victoria originally started her challenges in early 2020, however they were interrupted because of the pandemic, so she’s given herself two years, either side of her 50th birthday to complete all 50. 

You can read more about Victoria’s challenges here and donate to her fundraising efforts here.

A woman standing up on the front of a paddle board in the middle of a lake.
Read more about keratoconus

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