"I want to help create awareness of macular disease first and foremost"

Posted: Thursday 04 July 2024
Fitness leader Rosey with her arm aloft wearing a Macular Society fundraising t-shirt. Macular Week posters are in the background

Rosey, a 67-year-old fitness instructor, turned her exercise classes into a tribute to those living with macular disease as she set the routines to vision-themed music and asked everyone to wear yellow for Macular Week.  

The retired radiographer came up with the idea to raise funds and awareness for the Macular Society, after seeing her late grandfather, and more recently, her auntie affected by age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 

“It’s been really fun, hard work, but it’s been worth it,” Rosey said as she recalled one member who turned up dressed as a minion from the Despicable Me franchise.

“People have really liked it, and they got to wear yellow as well to support the Macular Society. I put different tunes together for the themed programmes so there was a bit of a mix, all sorts of different genres including male and female singers, old and new music, groups, instrumentals and it really has been quite a challenge putting it together – all with eyes and vision theme for Macular Week.”

Rosey, who runs classes at her local Friskis and Svettis fitness association in Aberdeen, has been raising funds for the Macular Society for a number of years.  

Rosey said: “I first ran the 2010 London Marathon raising money for the Macular Society, and that was all because of my Auntie Mary, who had dry AMD, as did my grandfather before her.

“There was no treatment and no support at all for him then, just audio books for the library and listening to the radio. He really couldn’t do anything in the end.

“More recently with my auntie, she was part of her local macular support group down in Maidenhead and it offered her a lot of support, she wasn’t alone but as it progressed she couldn’t even see to eat her food properly. Even down to personal hygiene, she needed help because she wouldn’t know to see if she had spilled anything, or see anything she dropped.

“I realised how much you rely on other people and her independence and quality of life was taken away from her, which was so sad to see.”

On her list of future fundraisers Rosey plans to take part in the Supernova Forth Road Bridge fun run and the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October, to raise more awareness of macular disease.

Rosey said: “I want to help create awareness of macular disease first and foremost. At first I wanted to thank the Macular Society for being there for my auntie, but then it’s looking into treatments that can help people, especially with the wet AMD, the hope that new medications could change people’s lives and stabilise the condition for a while”.

“Long-term, a cure would be fantastic but I’m not sure it will happen in my lifetime. But research into all these things is good, but that needs money. Every little helps and I hope we all have fun raising money, creating awareness and doing that together for a good cause.

“When I first started raising money, I wasn’t coming across as many people with macular disease. We are living longer, AMD is being picked up more now. Fundraising brings people together.”

Has Rosey’s story inspired you to start your own fundraising? From taking part in a major sporting event to organising your own event, everything makes a difference. Email community@macularsociety.org or phone 01264 560 222.