Mum’s uphill struggle for funds for sons with degenerative blindness disease

Sharon Moran with her sons Adam,12, and Nathan, 10, and four-year-old Conor.

A mother, whose two sons were diagnosed with a degenerative blindness disease, is set to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in a bid to raise money for charity.

Sharon Moran is on a mission to raise €10,000 for the National Council for the Blind Ireland (NCBI).

Her sons Adam, aged 12, and Nathan, 10, were diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a slow degenerative disease with no known cure. “It’s literally like it’s a little black hole coming in and closing in until they become blind.”

Both boys are already showing signs of the blindness. “It’s a gradual development of blindness so they both have night blindness and colour blindness setting in already.”

At the moment both Adam and Nathan have good central vision but their peripheral vision is deteriorating. By the time the boys reach their late 30s or early 40s, they could be blind.

Both Adam and Nathan were diagnosed with myopia when they were three years old. Two years ago, an ophthalmologist discovered Nathan had RP. His brother was then brought in for similar tests and found to have the disease.

It was a “huge blow”, said Sharon from Headford, Co Galway. The family had a “tough couple of months” but sought help from the NCBI in Galway, who were a “huge comfort”.

Hoping to raise money for the charity by climbing the 5,895-metre high Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania at the end of January, she is currently working with a personal trainer twice a week.

“The climb will take seven days going up and one day coming down. On the summit night, we climb for 17 hours so we leave about 11.30 at night and we will climb to the summit for sunrise. You can only stay on the top for about 15 minutes and then you leave again,” she said.

Sharon has already climbed Croagh Patrick in Mayo and Glendalough in Wicklow. In early January, she will climb Croagh Patrick three times, as well as Carrauntoohil with other Kilimanjaro-planned trekkers.

See Sharon Moran’s NCBI fundraising page on Facebook.


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