How amazing is Katrina?

Katrina thinks she’s just a regular student who happens to have nystagmus – we think she’s an amazing nystagmus ambassador!

Here’s Katrina’s nystagmus story …

I am 19 years old. I attended a mainstream school and was treated like everyone else. I felt no different. In my exams I had A3 papers and extra time, which helped a lot. I came out of school with 9 GCSEs. My career goal is to gain an apprenticeship doing Business Administration or Digital Marketing. The person who inspired me was my Grandad. I always looked up to him. Now I’m at college and I also volunteer with Youth Zone and Shopmobility doing administration work, which I thoroughly enjoy. 

What Katrina didn’t tell you is …

In May 2018 Katrina joined the Big Blind Walk!

Katrina spent some time walking with Julian Jackson as his Big Blind Walk took him through Carlisle and on to Scotland. She told Julian all about nystagmus and how it affects her.

Katrina says:
“It was an absolute pleasure to meet Julian and to walk with him.”

Julian messaged us to say:
“I was delighted to have Katrina walk alongside me for a distance out of Carlisle early this morning. We discussed her Nystagmus and I am so grateful for the support she has given the Big Blind Walk.”

We say:
“Well done, Katrina. Fabulous nystagmus ambassador!”

Nystagmus in the open and the Big Blind Walk

On national and international Nystagmus Awareness Day, Wednesday 20 June, why not help us really get ‘nystagmus in the open‘ by joining Julian Jackson on one of the final legs of his 1,000 mile Big Blind Walk?

On that day Julian will be walking from Helmsdale to Dunbeath in the Scottish Highlands along the A9 John O’Groats Trail. If you can be there to cheer him on, please let us know and we will send you a free Nystagmus Network T-shirt to wear.

Julian is walking to raise £300,000 for sight research. That will be good for all of us. He deserves our support.

To make a donation for Nystagmus Awareness Day, please visit our Justgiving page. Thank you.

Join the crowds to cheer on Julian as he begins his Big Blind Walk

If you can join Julian for just one of the 1,000 miles he plans to walk for sight research, or stand at the side of the road as he passes through your town or village, you’ll be in very good company. There will be lots of  other people there who suffer from visual impairment and sight loss. You might also see one or two celebrity faces along the way.

The BBC’s Countryfile Team will be filming Julian as he sets off from Land’s End on Sunday 29 April and presenter, Matt Baker, has promised to walk at least some of the route with him. So please turn out to cheer them both on if you can and then remember to tune in to the show later.

If you can’t get to Cornwall, please check the rest of Julian’s route. Maybe you could join Nystagmus Network trustee, Marie, in Frodsham or the ladies of the Keswick WI up in the lakes. And who could resist seeing Julian complete his marathon walk in the Scottish Highlands in June?

Please contact us if you are going to join Julian on the walk and would like a free Nystagmus Network T-shirt to wear.

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The Nystagmus Network supports Julian’s Big Blind Walk

Julian Jackson lost his sight in 2010 as the result of an inherited retinal condition. Since then he has become a visual impairment champion. He has worked with a leading eye research organisation and, through his own social enterprise, VisionBridge, campaigned to bring sight loss and the need for more research to public awareness. His work has gained momentum and he is now partnered with researchers, eye health professionals and members of the visually impaired community across the UK.

What is the Big Blind Walk?

Julian is seeking to raise awareness of and funding for sight research, for too long seen as a ‘cinderella’ branch of medicine. He has previously tandem cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End, but this year he plans to walk back along the entire 1,000 mile route, from the bottom to the top of the UK. He thinks it will take him around 7 weeks.

He will set off from Cornwall on Sunday 29 April, when the BBC1 Countryfile team will be there to film him. If all goes to plan, Julian hopes to arrive in the far north of Scotland by around 22 June.

Why is the Nystagmus Network supporting Julian?

The Nystagmus Network promotes and funds research into nystagmus, but we are only a small charity with limited resources. If we support Julian to raise the profile of vision loss and the need for research, as well as a large pot of money which eye sight researchers can bid for, we can all benefit.

Richard Wilson OBE, Chairman, Nystagmus Network, writes: “The Nystagmus Network is delighted to support Julian and his Big Blind Walk, because we believe wholeheartedly in his mission to raise awareness of sight health and foster innovative research.”

How can I take part?

In support of Julian’s endeavour, the Nystagmus Network is asking members of the nystagmus community simply to get out there and cheer Julian on. If you live close to Julian’s route, you can follow his interactive map to find out when he’s passing by. Why not walk a section with him? He would be very glad of the company.

If you’re planning to walk with Julian, please let us know and we will send you a Nystagmus Network T-shirt to wear. It will make it easier for you to meet other people affected by nystagmus in your area, help Julian publicise his walk and raise awareness of nystagmus, too.

A thank you from Julian

“I’m so grateful to the Nystagmus Network for not only supporting my Big Blind Walk to improve awareness and understanding of the social, economic and psychological impact of sight loss amongst a growing number of the UK population, but also in promoting and raising money for eye research, which I believe is one of the most underfunded areas of medical research and certainly one of the best kept secrets in the UK!”

Thank you for your support.