An Edinburgh woman who has sight loss is to embark on all four Kiltwalks in Scotland to raise funds for audio-books for the blind.
Annette West from Leith has macular degeneration, the most common cause of visual impairment in Britain, which erodes the central vision of the eye.
The Kiltwalks allow anyone to raise funds for the charities and causes they care about, which receive a 40 per cent top-up from Sir Tom Hunter’s Foundation.
Annette is doing the Glasgow Kiltwalk on April 29th, then Aberdeen, Dundee and, on September 16th, Edinburgh. All the money she raises in sponsorship will go towards producing more audio-books by national sight loss charity RNIB.
“I’ve decided to do all four Kiltwalks to raise £150 to mark the 150th anniversary of RNIB this year,” says Annette. “And it would be great if people could join my team in one or more of the cities.
“Throughout my life I have always struggled to read but have enjoyed listening to RNIB’s ‘talking books’, a service very close to my heart. Over the last couple of years when my sight deteriorated I relied on audio-books entirely.”
At the age of two, Annette was diagnosed with measles and left severely myopic. “My sight was limited,” she recalls, “supported by wearing very thick glass ‘bottle-top’ lenses.” Twenty years later, while studying at university, her sight dramatically deteriorated even further due to macular degeneration.
“As time went on I had lost use of my right eye and was starting to develop cataracts in both. The cataracts progressed very quickly and I was almost completely blind when the consultants at the Edinburgh Eye Pavilion decided to do surgery. They were able to remove cataracts and, although the macular blindness still remained, the sight in my left eye was restored.
“Doing the Kiltwalk in aid of RNIB is important to me. It is my way of saying thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my operations, and to encourage others like me to use and enjoy RNIB ‘talking’ books. It has been a lifeline to me and to others who are blind or partially sighted.
“It would be great if other people could join my team - it would be much more fun to walk in a group. My team is called NETWALK150. To join me, simply register. When you register you’ll be asked to create or join a team. Just click ‘join’ and type in NETWALK150.
“Alternatively, to sponsor me, please donate direct to my page or if you prefer, I have a sponsorship form you can complete.
“Thank you in advance for your generosity, it means a lot to me and to all those to whom audio-books are a boon.”