The thought of anything happening to a loved one is unbearable.

Posted: Wednesday 23 December 2020 at 11:00

When I heard about George, who was diagnosed with macular disease at just six years old, I thought immediately of my own grandchildren and how my heart would break if one of them was rapidly losing their eyesight due to this dreadful disease.

George’s mother tells us that his grandparents “cried and cried” when they were told about his diagnosis. I can only imagine. I feel emotional just thinking about it. But I know that a cure can be found if we just keep funding as much research as possible.

One thing that really struck me was George’s mother, Sarah, saying: “If we could stop this from happening to other families, to stop it from being a problem in the first place, that would be amazing.” That is what we all want.

George’s sight is sadly deteriorating fast. His wonderful parents Sarah and Ollie are cramming in as many experiences, outings and activities for him as they can – so he sees as much of the world around him as possible, while he still can. They are collecting items for a ‘Memory Box’ for George, things he can touch and hold for when he is no longer able to look at photographs of his young life.

Imagine if we could find a cure in time for George to always be able to see those photographs rather than to rely on his box of memories.

Imagine if we could give George all the time in the world to experience the rest of his life through his eyes, instead of through memories. He is just a child, a child whose future is clouded by macular disease.

In a few years’ time, will George be able to see the Christmas lights? Will he still be able to easily write a Christmas card, as he has done for you? Will George have enough sight left to see his presents under the tree, or the faces of his family, in the years to come?

I know you understand the urgency of the situation: the only way we will stop macular disease is by funding more research.

And, every single project we fund could hold the key to a cure.

None of us wants to keep hearing about children’s futures – or anyone’s, for that matter – being destroyed by macular disease. I don’t want people like Sarah and Ollie, George’s parents, to feel that sorrow anymore – and I know you don’t either.

A big thank you to everyone who has already donated to our Christmas appeal. I truly believe that if we work together, we can beat this for all the Georges out there. We can beat macular disease for everyone.

Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

Cathy Yelf, Chief Executive of the Macular Society