Connect with Fighting Blindness

There are lots of ways in which you can connect with Fighting Blindness. We welcome you to become a member and receive regular updates. You can also attend some of our events and information evenings. There are opportunities to work with us in advocacy and education to raise awareness about retinal conditions and their impact. You can also get involved in our fundraising and community activities. We would love to hear from you. Below, you will find some further detail on how you can get involved in the organisation.

Membership

As a patient-led organisation, our members are vital to our work. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in the organisation, including people with sight loss and their families, supporters and fundraisers, medical professionals, researchers and the general public. By becoming a member, you will receive an invitation to the Annual General Meeting, where you will have voting rights, along with the opportunity to meet the staff and board of directors, and contribute to the work of Fighting Blindness. You will also be invited to the Public Engagement Day of the annual Retina Conference, where you will hear the latest developments in retinal research in Ireland and globally. We will keep you regularly updated through our quarterly Visionaries newsletter. Membership is renewable on a yearly basis.

Target 5000

Target 5000 is a research project, led by Fighting Blindness. It aims to discover the specific gene abnormality for each individual who has an inherited retinal condition.

Visionaries Newsletter

We publish the Visionaries newsletter quarterly. It is available in printed format, as an e-zine and can be downloaded from our website. Visionaries contains updates on research projects that we are funding, as well as international advances in retinal research and clinical trial development. It also provides information about our counselling and support service and highlights activities in advocacy and patient empowerment. It will keep you informed about our fundraising activities and tell you about the work of our busy and inspiring supporters around the country.

Social Media

Social media is a great way to stay connected with what we are doing in short bulletins. We update our Facebook (Facebook.com/Fighting.Blindness.Ireland) and Twitter (@fightngblindnes) accounts daily with news about everything from local community events to international research.

Retina Conference

The annual Retina Conference brings together top international scientists, Irish researchers and clinicians, and patient representatives who are involved in the global effort to develop treatments and cures for conditions that lead to sight loss. Since 2000, we have used the meeting as an opportunity for researchers and clinicians to learn from one another, by sharing the latest developments in the field. It also helps them to form links and collaborations that will accelerate the global fight to cure blindness. The conference takes place over two days. The first day is the Science Meeting, designed for a scientific and clinical audience where global advances in research and clinical trial progress will be discussed. The second day is a Public Engagement Day and is designed for patients, family members and medical professionals to inform them about the work happening around the world. The Retina Conference takes place in November each year. Full details, including reports from previous years, can be found on www.retina.ie.

Fundraising Events and Activities

Fighting Blindness holds many varied fundraising activities throughout the year to help generate the vital funds needed to support our research and work. You can get involved in treks, runs, community events, bucket collections and anything else you can imagine! For more information about any of our events, or to discuss planning an event of your own, email fundraising@fightingblindness.ie.

Schools Programme

The Fighting Blindness Schools Programme is designed to create awareness among students about visual impairment and sight loss. As part of the programme, schools will receive a copy of our Educational Resource, which contains information and activities for students, and a staff member and a Fighting Blindness member will visit the school and speak to the students about the work of Fighting Blindness and about living with sight loss. Schools, teachers and students can get involved in the programme by contacting Fighting Blindness on 01 6789 004 or info@fightingblindness.ie.

Advocacy

We advocate on behalf of our members and everyone living with sight loss in Ireland. We believe in patient empowerment and are working at the highest levels to ensure that the voice of patients is front and centre of any decision made about them. Particularly significant, current activities in this area include our position as co-chair in the development of a National Vision Strategy and as part of the steering committee, driving the development and implementation of a National Rare Disease Plan. You can find much more detail about this work on our website. We would love to hear from you if you are interested in getting involved in this area of our work, by joining a discussion group or committee or by becoming a patient advocate.

Insight Counselling Service

Insight is a national support service from Fighting Blindness. It offers a wide variety of opportunities to support people with sight loss as well as their families and friends. Services include individual therapy sessions, family and spousal sessions, support groups, a telephone helpline and hospital supports, amongst others. Full details are available on page 8 of this guide. You can contact Insight through the Fighting Blindness office on 01 6789 004 or by emailing insight@fightingblindness.ie.

How to Support Our Work

Fighting Blindness is 90% funded by you, the public, through donations and fundraising. With your help, to date we have invested over €15 million into 70 projects in Ireland, and we have developed a national support service through the Insight Counselling Service. It is only through your generosity and support that we are able to make a real difference.

If you would like to support the work of Fighting Blindness, please contact us on 01 6789 004 or fundraising@fightingblindness.ie to discuss your options. There are many ways in which you can support us, from a once off donation, to holding a fundraising event, running in a sponsored marathon, participating in regular giving, or by leaving a legacy in your Will.

Thank you for your continued support, hard work and dedication to making our vision a reality.