My mom experienced poor eyesight, especially night blindness, as long as I can remember. Her father also had very poor eyesight and at the age of 65 he fell over his wharf in out port Newfoundland and drowned.
My mom was finally diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) in her early fifties and when she died at age 84 she was totally blind. The doctors told her that her RP is an inherited eye disorder and that the type she had leaves a 50:50 chance that her children would also have RP.
My mom had six sons and three daughters living at that time, and three of her sons and one daughter have RP.
I always had night blindness, nevertheless I had 20:20 vision and did not wear eyeglass until my mid-forties. Then in my early-fifties a started to see myself doing the things my mom did.
Finally in 2010 at age 57 I couldn't ignore the symptoms any longer and was diagnosed with RP.
At the age of 58 I had to stop driving and I retired from my 35-year career as a Federal Fishery Officer.
With no peripheral vision I cannot safely drive a car, but with my limited frontal vision I endeavour to ride my bike.
I have four sons and three daughters and eleven grandchildren. None of them have chosen to be tested for RP yet and I hope against all odds that none of them have RP.
I have a nephew and niece with RP.
It is for them and all of their generation that I support the fundraising efforts of FFB and the research funded through this fundraising.
Although the loss of my peripheral vision has resulted in major changes in my life, i.e. no driver’s licence, I consider myself fortunate in that the vision I have left so far has allowed me to move about fairly independently.
In particular, I love cycling and I can safely do it so far.
I attended Vision Quest in St. John’s in 2012 and learned about Cycle for Sight in Toronto.
In the fall of 2012 I refurbished my old Mountain Bike and bought an Indoor Trainer for my bike.
I trained all that winter, and I have participated in Cycle for Sight in Toronto in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
With the approval and support of "The Foundation Fighting Blindness" my wife Amy and I brought Cycle for Sight to St. John's in 2017, and we are now into registration for our third year - 2019.
I just love cycling and my weekly goal is to average 100 KM per week.