Leamington fundraiser recognised for her dedication to sight loss charity

Debbie White at the awards ceremony. Photo submitted.
Debbie White at the awards ceremony. Photo submitted.

A Leamington woman has been presented with a prestigious award for her 25 years of charity fundraising.

Debbie White, has won the 2019 Third Sector Award in the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ category, for her fundraising efforts, which have raised more than £350,000 for Fight for Sight, which researches into preventing sight loss and treating eye disease.

Debbie White. Photo submitted

Debbie White. Photo submitted

The annual awards are an opportunity for charities, not-for-profits and voluntary organisations to celebrate their work.

Debbie has been living with Usher syndrome for more than 40 years – a rare genetic disorder that results in a combination of hearing loss and visual impairment and is experienced as a result of another condition, retinitis pigmentosa.

As a result of her condition, Debbie also has cataracts forming and astigmatism of the eye. Despite knowing that there may not be a breakthrough in her own lifetime to reverse her sight loss, Debbie has been tirelessly fundraising since 1994 to help others.

Debbie said: “I am absolutely delighted to have won this fantastic award. The research projects Fight for Sight fund are so important to understand conditions like mine. We will only find better treatments and solutions for sight loss through research, hence my passion for fundraising for such an amazing charity.”

Debbie co-founded and chairs the Fight for Sight Warwickshire Committee, which she set up 25 years ago. In her role, Debbie has organised annual golf days at Stoneleigh Deer Park Golf Club, skydives and cycling challenges.

This year the committee’s annual Warwickshire Golf Day celebrated its 25th year, and raised £19,000. Debbie also arranged ‘Skydive for Sight’, an event in which she and 18 others took on a jump of more than 10,000ft to raise £22,000.

In addition to fundraising, Debbie recognises the importance of building advocacy and spreading awareness of the need for Fight for Sight’s eye research, having organised and spoken at several community events.

Debbie said: “I will keep fundraising but I can’t claim all the credit for the fundraising as many help.

“I will be doing a zip-wire in Snowdon and proceeds from that will be split between Fight for Sight and Huntington’s Disease Association and I am looking to get people involved. We are looking for new committee members for Fight for Sight. If someone would like to get on board they can email me on events4sight@gmail.com or call 07866 510959.”

Ikram Dahman, Director of Fundraising at Fight for Sight, said: “We are thrilled that Debbie has won the Volunteer of the Year Third Sector award. It is so well-deserved as she has raised over £350,000 for us throughout the years.

“It’s through the help of our fantastic supporters like Debbie that we are able to fund pioneering research to help stop sight loss and create a future everyone can see.”

For more information about Fight for Sight’s work and how you can get involved, go to: www.fightforsight.org.uk