Following transmission of the Nystagmus Network’s Radio 4 appeal, presented by Richard Osman, the charity has received universally positive feedback on the clarity of the broadcast’s message. One listener, in his 70s, said he had learned more about nystagmus in those 3 minutes than throughout the rest of his life. We have been contacted by several individuals saying that they were totally unaware of the condition previously or that Richard himself lived with nystagmus. We have also enjoyed unprecedented social media engagement. With transmission following closely after Nystagmus Awareness Day on 20 June, the appeal raised awareness of the condition to new heights.
In 2020, when most fundraising has ceased and people with nystagmus have been struggling with homeschooling, social distancing, shopping, lack of hospital appointments and isolation, the appeal has been a lifeline to the charity and the nystagmus community in terms of generating donations.
The total raised has reached almost £8,000 to help the charity extend and develop its support and information services. This means that, as eye clinics and high street opticians begin to reopen, patients and their families will have access to information about nystagmus. Clinic staff will be aware of their needs, thanks to training the charity is now able to provide. In September, when children return to school, parents and school staff will enjoy the benefit of accurate, up to date information about education support to ensure that all young people with nystagmus attain their academic potential.
We are indebted to our wonderful presenter, Richard, for kindly agreeing to voice our appeal and share his own reflections on living with nystagmus. We often tell young children that, with the right support, they can achieve anything, despite their disability. They can even become a famous TV presenter if they work very, very hard. Thank you, Richard, for the inspiration and thank you to everyone who responded to the appeal.