Teenager skydives in Salisbury to fund rare eye condition research
Teenager Nathan Dunbar skydived 15,000 feet over Salisbury Plains this weekend (August 1st) to raise funds for vital research into his rare eye condition.
17-year-old Nathan was diagnosed with keratoconus in both of his eyes five years ago after a routine eye check-up with his optician. This condition means that the normally round dome-shaped clear window of the eye (cornea) progressively thins, causing a cone-like bulge to develop. This results in poor vision, and currently there is no cure. Nathan has had four surgeries to help slow down the progression of the disease and attempt to correctly reshape his corneas.
Since his diagnosis, Nathan has been raising money for Fight for Sight. His skydive on August 1st was just one of a number of fundraising events and challenges Nathan has undertaken for the charity over the past three years.
Nathan said: “I think it is very important to raise money for research into such an uncertain eye condition that affects so many people – many of whom are under the age of 20. Now more than ever, charities like Fight for Sight need our help, as the Covid-19 pandemic has hugely effected their fundraising income. I know that by raising this money, I am helping to fund research into a new and more effective treatment for keratoconus, which will transform the lives of people like me.”
Director of Engagement at Fight for Sight, Sarah Campion said: “We are so grateful to Nathan for taking on this challenge and fundraising for us. Eye research was already a hugely underfunded area and this has only been made worse during the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s through our fantastic supporters like Nathan sticking by us during this difficult time that we will be able to continue the fight against sight loss. We know that researchers are on the cusp of breakthroughs and we can’t let Covid-19 affect our long-term mission – to create a world everyone can see.”
Fight for Sight is currently funding Dr Mouhamed Al-Aqaba and his team of researchers at Nottingham University who are using biological ‘markers’ to investigate the underlying nerve structures in keratoconus. Fight for Sight also recently contributed to research at Guys Hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital to understand more about the effectiveness of a new treatment for keratoconus called corneal cross-linking.
Nathan was also due to be dropping 430ft from the Viewing Tower of the British Airways i360 in Brighton earlier this summer, however that challenge event has now been postponed until September due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nathan has already raised over £1,200 so far for his aerial adventures, but hopes to raise even more in the lead up to the second drop. To support Nathan you can visit his Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nathandunbar-fightforsight
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