Fighting for Sight this Father’s Day
Father and Son to feature on BBC’s Songs of Praise
The Nation celebrated Father’s Day on Sunday 19 June – like everyone else 8-year-old, Jackson Coghlan, celebrated with his dad but there is just one difference Jackson can’t see his dad.
Jackson, from Hertford, 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 Jackson’s father, Kevin, 39, 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 main eye research charity, Fight for Sight.
On 21 January 2017 Kevin, along with his step-mother Nicola, 47, from Hatfield, will climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of Jackson’s condition and the much needed funds to support eye research.
Kevin said: “Jackson shows so much strength and courage living with his sight loss every day – he is intelligent, fearless and cheeky and he is an inspiration. I wanted to show him he can face any challenge and that’s why I wanted to push myself to my limits and do this challenge. Raising awareness and much needed funds so that one day Jackson may be able to see again will be worth all the pain.”
The family have been supporters of the charity for a number of years and have raised over £19,000. 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.
Jackson said: “I’m very proud of my dad – he is the best dad ever. He is always there for me whatever I do. I wanted to wish him and nanny the very best of luck with their climb.”
Kevin and Jackson have an incredible bond, the duo featured in a special edition of BBC’s One Song of Praise. The show aired on Sunday 19 June at 3.40pm. Watch the clip from the programme below.