Dear Members and Friends
As many of you will know I will be moving on from my position with Fighting Blindness to take up the role of CEO at Retina International on January 4, 2016.
I joined Fighting Blindness in 2000 as Public Affairs Executive. At the time there were three employees, Marie McCarthy our Office Manager who many will know as the ‘Voice of Fighting Blindness’ for so many newly diagnosed members over the years, our only Fundraiser Eamonn Carroll who remains a strong supporter of Fighting Blindness and great friend and our then CEO Michael Griffith, who remains a diligent Board Member. With so few staff at the time we relied heavily on you, our members and volunteers, to provide us with your valuable time to support fundraising, organise events locally and nationally and to help with our fledgling advocacy and communications. Working with you was a privilege and a huge motivating factor in my own work for this great organisation. I can not overemphasise the delight I have in meeting with so many of you still, most recently at Retina 2015, where we could listen together to the great progress and exciting developments in the journey towards cures and treatments for blindness.
The members of Fighting Blindness will remain that motivating factor in my work as a patient advocate as I move into a new space. The positive ‘can do’ attitude those of you living with rare and inherited forms of blindness as well as late onset and age related conditions have displayed over the years has educated me to be enthusiastic for the future of our community. Positivity and inclusiveness is what this organisation symbolises to me. I know our team here at the office will continue to work with you and for you to grow our support services, enhance our education and outreach and ensure we all get access to life changing treatments that we are hopeful will emerge from the research we have supported over the decades.
Since its establishment in 1978 Retina International has become an informed voice in policy development for this community. I will work with its members, including Fighting Blandness, to ensure that our collective voice is heard and our recommendations included in decisions impacting our future healthcare. Retina International will coordinate the views of patients in our community globally and work to enable access to appropriate medical intervention, psychological and social supports that will emerge. We will do all we can to ensure that health agendas are patient proofed. Nothing about us without us!
Go raibh maith agaibh, agus Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Avril Daly, Chief Executive