"I always say that sight loss doesn’t affect me because I won’t let it.”

Posted: Wednesday 22 April 2020 at 08:57

An 89-year-old with macular disease has stepped up to the 2.6 Challenge to support others living with the condition. 

Anne Cofffin has pledged to walk 5,750 steps – the equivalent of 2.6 miles – by this coming Sunday (26 April) in support of the Society. Anne was diagnosed with macular disease 10 years ago, leaving her with only limited sight in her left eye. She has been a member of the Macular Society ever since, and was one of the founding members of the charity’s peer support group based in Stevenage, which is currently suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Anne was inspired to take on the challenge after following the exploits of war veteran Captain Tom Moore, who has raised more than £27 million for the NHS by completing 100 laps of his garden ahead of his 100th birthday.

She said: “I’ve been following Captain Tom’s challenge and I thought: ‘Well, if he can do that, so can I’. It’s difficult, not really being able to see what I’m doing, but I always say that sight loss doesn’t affect me because I won’t let it.”

The 2.6 Challenge has been created by the organisers of the UK’s top mass-participation sporting events. It officially launches on 26 April: the date the Virgin Money London Marathon was due to take place. As part of the challenge, the Macular Society is asking people to take part in an activity of their choice, based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 to raise vital funds towards research into macular disease. The only requirement is that participants must follow Government guidelines on exercise and social distancing.

Anne’s daughter, Sara Perkes, said: “It’s really important for older people to stay active and keep moving during the lockdown, so it’s going to be really good for Mum to have this challenge to focus on.

“She’s done just over 2,000 steps so far; mainly around her home, but in the last couple of days we’ve managed to safely walk to the nearest bus stop and back, and she’s done a short walk around the block with my sister, Jane Turner, as well.”

Susie McCallum, Macular Society community and events fundraising manager, said: “Although the coronavirus has had a tremendous impact on day-to-day life all over the world, it doesn’t alter that fact that vital research is still urgently needed to find a cure for macular disease. The only way to beat this cruel and isolating condition is by funding as much scientific research as we can to eradicate it once and for all.

“At the same time, people with macular disease need our support more than ever during the lockdown period, so it’s crucial that we can offer them all of the help and assistance they need over the telephone or online while our face-to-face services are suspended.

“We’re really grateful to Anne and everyone else who has signed up to take part in a 2.6 Challenge event for us. Although the challenge officially launches on 26 April, people can take part at any time.”

Anne is hoping to raise £2,620 through her challenge. If you would like to sponsor her, please visit her Just Giving page

Sara has also shared a video of Anne beginning her challenge: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10217993247805891&id=1326468437

For more information on taking part in a 2.6 Challenge event for the Macular Society