Mum to run London Marathon for children’s eye health scheme

Sue Walker

A mother is putting her best foot forward and running the London Marathon for a charity that helps educate teachers, parents and children about sight loss.

Sue Walker will be running the gruelling 26-mile race to raise money for the Eye Health Education scheme, run by Open Sight Hampshire, which provides information about visual impairment conditions, why some people have sight loss and the challenges they face.

The programme also informs children about the importance of protecting eyes from the sun, having regular eye tests, eating fruit and vegetables and exercising regularly as well as the detrimental effects of smoking.

Around 12 per cent of children aged five, entering full time education, will have an undetected sight condition, which may be detrimental to their ability to learn.  Parents often don’t get children’s sight tested until symptoms start to appear.

Sue, who lives in Titchfield, is Chairwoman of Open Sight Hampshire, which is based in Eastleigh, and has two children – Cayden, seven, and Isabella, 11. She said: “Raising awareness among teachers, parents and importantly, the children, about eye health and when to get eyes tested, is extremely important. Living with an eye condition can be very challenging so it is crucial to get it identified early.”

Open Sight Hampshire have spoken to nearly 20,000 children across Hampshire since the scheme began in 2012 but want to reach many more.

Terry Smith, Community Development Manager, runs the scheme and is visually impaired. He said: “This scheme helps so many families understand the importance of visiting an optician regularly and without the support of people like Sue, we wouldn’t be able to talk to the thousands of children across Hampshire who may need support.”

Sue, 50, has been Chairwoman of the charity for two years and a member of the board for four years.  She joined the charity after leaving her role at NATS Holdings near Fareham.

“I love being part of Open Sight Hampshire,” Sue said. “Everyone involved is so dedicated to helping people who are visually impaired. Having people who have a visual impairment, work for the charity, is quite unique. They know first-hand the challenges a visual impairment can bring and the needs that those people have. They are the lifeblood of the charity, so I am very excited and proud to be able to do my part to support their vital work.”

This will be the first time Sue has entered a marathon, but she is relishing the challenge.Sue said:

‘The training is tough but has been going well.’

‘My friend is also running the marathon, so we’ve been training together which is very helpful. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve heard that the atmosphere is amazing, so I am hoping the crowd will help me round.’

To sponsor Sue, please visit here!