Blind and deaf Warwick golfer tees up for charity - The Leamington Observer

Blind and deaf Warwick golfer tees up for charity

Leamington Editorial 4th Jun, 2024   0

AN EXTRAORDINARY deaf and blind woman from Warwick is teeing up for a charity golf day to fund pioneering eye research.

Debbie White has the rare genetic condition Usher syndrome type II, which causes hearing impairment and progressive vision loss due to retinitis pigmentosa.

Retinitis pigmentosa occurs as a result of a depletion in cells that detect light, which ultimately leads to vision loss. There is currently no cure.

The 59-year-old has already raised £400,000 for Warwickshire Fight for Sight and will be further boosting the charity’s coffers by taking part in the 29th Annual Golf Day on July 3 at Stoneleigh Deer Park Golf Club.

Debbie began to slowly lose her sight and hearing as a child, but wasn’t diagnosed until she was 21, after it was discovered that her younger brother, then 17, had the condition.

As head of the Warwickshire Fight for Sight Committee for over 30 years, Debbie has worked tirelessly to raise funds for the charity’s pioneering eye research. As well as the Annual Golf Day, she has organised a myriad of fundraising activities, including sky dives, zip wires, cycling challenges, gala dinners and night walks.

Although Debbie acknowledges there may not be a breakthrough in her lifetime to reverse her own vision loss, she is dedicated to enabling research which will benefit others living with vision loss in future.

Debbie said: “Losing two of your senses is really tough, both mentally and physically, and it’s especially hard to come to terms with it at a young age.

“While I’m hoping that my brother and I will be part of the breakthrough in new treatments for Usher syndrome type II, what drives me is that I made the decision not to have children because I didn’t want to pass on the condition, and I want to make sure that no child in the future has to go through what we have experienced.”

Debbie is an avid golfer, who played competitively with a handicap of 11, until her deteriorating eyesight caused her to pause. With characteristic determination, Debbie has since joined England and Wales Blind Golf.

Fight for Sight Foundation CEO Keith Valentine added: “We are so grateful to Debbie for her extraordinary dedication to raising funds for eye research. I’d also like to thank everyone who has so generously supported the annual Golf Day and all the other amazing fundraising events that Debbie and the Warwickshire branch have made happen over the years.”

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