Why I chose Fight for Sight as the BIA’s charity for 2014

Fight for Sight The BIA has chosen Fight for Sight as its supported charity next year. Fight for Sight, may not have the profile that some of the charities we have worked with in the past have, but I believe that its dedication to funding pioneering research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease fits well with the goals of the BIA membership. There are almost 1 million people – from children with inherited blindness to adults with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – in the UK alone living with sight loss that can’t be avoided. This number is set to double, as we live longer, by 2050. Fight for Sight’s mission is to fund pioneering research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease. Its current research programme covers common conditions including AMD, glaucoma, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, corneal disease and trachoma, as well as inherited eye diseases, childhood eye conditions and rare eye diseases. This pioneering research is being conducted by research groups attached to 28 universities and hospitals across the UK. Fight for Sight has been responsible for:
  • key research helping save the sight of premature babies
  • establishing the UK Corneal Transplant Service enabling 52,000 corneal transplants to take place
  • supporting the research team responsible for the world’s first clinical trials for gene therapy to treat Leber’s congenital amaurosis (an inherited retinal disorder)
  • funding the research leading to the world’s first clinical trial for choroideremia (an inherited retinal disorder)
  • funding the research team that identified a new gene involved in the development of keratoconus (a degenerative disease of the cornea that causes the cornea to thin and change in shape)
  • research leading to more effective treatment for children with amblyopia (lazy-eye)
I hope that by being our supported charity in 2014, Fight for Sight will not only benefit from our fundraising activities, but also from a partnership with us which I hope will:
  • raise the profile of the charity as the main charity in the UK funding eye research
  • showcase their research to BIA members potentially leading to relationships developing for mutual benefit
  • share the results of its consultation of patients and eye health professionals for research priorities with BIA members
  • allow BIA members to share their expertise to help develop Fight for Sight’s research strategy
The first event for our partnership with Fight for Sight will be our flagship Gala Dinner on 30 January 2014, for which more than 500 guests are already registered. A number of our members supported Fight for Sight’s application to work with us in 2014:
“Fight for Sight relies on voluntary donations to support medical research into a wide range of eye conditions. It is so important that we support research into sight loss, a growing and little known problem that currently affects one in nine people over 60. By funding research at ground level we can provide a better understanding of the causes of eye diseases and ultimately develop new treatments.” Susan Searle ex-CEO, Imperial Innovations and Trustee, Fight for Sight
“As the largest UK eye research charity, Fight for Sight plays a key role in supporting pioneering treatments which can improve the lives of millions of people. We, at Oxford BioMedica, know first-hand how important it is to develop new treatments for macular degeneration, glaucoma and childhood blindness. We are committed to finding new weapons to fight blindness, and determined to help people see. And we commend our industry colleagues, clinicians and organisations like Fight for Sight who are doing the same.” Lara Mott, Head of Corporate Communications, Oxford BioMedica
“The research that Fight for Sight funds will ultimately improve the quality of life and range of treatments for people with sight loss, as well as ensuring that visual impairment isn’t an inevitability for many people who otherwise may have lost their sight. Through the wide range of interesting and challenging fundraising events available, in which I am delighted to have participated in a personal capacity, Fight for Sight’s supporters are helping to change the prospects of future generations. As a charity that relies solely on donations, Fight for Sight must continue to receive support in order to carry on this pioneering research.” Sanjay Jawa, COO Europe, Middle East and Africa, FTI Consulting
“Eye disease is something that everybody will come across at some point in their lives, directly or indirectly, and because of this Fight for Sight is such an important charity to support.” Deborah Harland, Partner, SR One
“The development of new therapies, including cell based therapies, for eye diseases is increasingly important and Fight for Sight is a leader in supporting research in this area. At the Cell Therapy Catapult we identified this as an important sector with high potential for the early success that will lead the industry forward.” Matthew Durdy, Chief Business Officer, The Cell Therapy Catapult
"Fight for Sight is helping to keep eye research at the forefront of people’s minds, as well as giving hope to people with sight loss.” Kate Bingham, Managing Partner, SV Life Sciences
I look forward to working with them all in our partnership with Fight for Sight in 2014. Best Steve