I’m doing all four Kiltwalks - and sight loss won’t stop me

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If the one Kiltwalk sounds formidable enough for someone with sight loss, spare a thought for Annette West from Edinburgh - she is doing all four this year! She completed the first, in Glasgow, recently.

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8th May 2018 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

I’m aiming to raise funds to produce audio-books for the blind.

I have macular degeneration, the most common cause of visual impairment in Britain, which erodes the central vision of the eye.

The Kiltwalks allow anyone to raise funds for the charities and causes they care about, which receive a 40% top-up from Sir Tom Hunter’s Foundation.

I decided to do all four Kiltwalks to raise funds for RNIB talking audio-books this year. And it would be great if people could join my team in one or more of the other cities - Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh – later this year.

Throughout my life I have always struggled to read but have enjoyed listening to RNIB’s talking books, a service very close to my heart. Over the last couple of years when my sight deteriorated I relied on audio-books entirely.

Annette West

Annette West

Doing the Kiltwalk in aid of RNIB is my way of saying thank you to everyone who supported me throughout my operations

At the age of two, I was diagnosed with measles and left severely myopic. 20 years later, while studying at university, my sight dramatically deteriorated even further due to macular degeneration.

As time went on I had lost use of my right eye and was starting to develop cataracts in both. The cataracts progressed very quickly and I was almost completely blind before surgery was able to remove them. Although the macular blindness still remained, the sight in my left eye was restored.

Doing the Kiltwalk in aid of RNIB is my way of saying thank you to everyone who supported me throughout my operations, and to encourage others to enjoy RNIB talking books, which has been a lifeline to me.

For blind and partially sighted people, many of whom are older and live alone, reading – both fiction and factual - keeps us in touch with the outside world and lets us take part in the common culture, and maintain our interest in subjects and hobbies we’ve always had.

RNIB’s talking books library has 22,000 book-titles available. But despite this, only a fraction of the books actually published in any one year are available in accessible formats like audio or braille.

It costs RNIB between £1,500 and £2,500 to record a talking book professionally with a trained narrator - and they do very much rely on the support of the public to help continue this work.

Sight loss is becoming a more common feature of our ageing society. Lots of people will know a relative or friend who has difficulties with their vision.

By helping to produce more RNIB talking books, they can help ensure that all people experiencing sight loss can share in the life we all enjoy. The Kiltwalks are also great fun and very social. A chance to meet new people and to keep fit!

The Kiltwalks still to happen are in Aberdeen (3 June), Dundee (19 August) and Edinburgh (16 September).

It would be great if other people could join my Kiltwalk team. It would be much more fun to walk in a group. Alternatively, to sponsor me, please donate direct to my page.