May 25 2013 Latest news:
by Tim Lamden
Monday, August 20, 2012
As Paralympians from around the world prepare for the start of next week’s Games, one Crouch End man will be coming to the end of his own gruelling challenge of a lifetime.
Joe Churcher, 40, of Temple Road, will set off alongside 19 other fundraisers on a 10-day trek from one side of the country to the other tomorrow, in aid of a charity supporting people with an incurable eye disease.
The group, made up of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) sufferers as well as family members of those affected by the condition, will leave St Bee’s on the western coast of Cumbria in the morning destined for the coastal village of Robin Hood’s Bay in the east.
Joe and his fellow hikers will cover 203 miles in total, taking on peaks, lakes, dales and bogs along the way - despite losing some or all of their sight to RP.
He said: “It’s going to be hard work - four of the party are completely blind. It’s really going to be a case of the blind leading the blind!”
RP is a genetic condition which leads to the gradual degeneration of the light sensitive cells of the retina in the eye.
Difficulties with night vision and peripheral vision are the first problems to be noticed as the retina ceases to function before eventually dying away, leading to blindness.
Joe, who is chief political correspondent of the Press Association news agency based in the Houses of Parliament, was diagnosed with RP as a child.
He added: “If you didn’t know I had it you’d think I was very clumsy. In my job I have to shake hands a lot and often I miss hands completely!”
At present there is no cure for RP and all money raised by Joe’s hike will go to the British Retinitis Pigmentosa Society (BRPS) to help fund medical research and support those living with the condition.
If you wish to sponsor Joe, visit www.justgiving.com/joechurcher.