Making waves! Sara swims to save sight

McCluskey and Sara
SSI team

1 December 2015

With the support of Save Sight Institute (SSI), the Lions Club of Wyoming and the NSW Central Coast community, Sara Evans completed her marathon swim to save sight on Sunday 29th November 2015 at Mingara One aquatic centre.

Motivated by her friend’s son who was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), Sara swam continuously for 12 hours to raise vital funds for paediatric eye disease at SSI in Sydney.

RP involves the degeneration of photoreceptors in the retina, with typical outcomes including night blindness and tunnel vision. Currently, RP affects thousands of Australian children and their families, and is one of many blinding eye disorders that SSI researchers are working hard to find a cure for.

“I’d be gutted if I was told that my children were going to lose their sight…I want to make a difference. When I’m swimming, that’s what I think about,” Sara said.

The swim took place alongside Sara’s Family Fun Day at Mingara Recreation Club, involving face-painting, sausage sizzles, jumping castles, markets and live entertainment, with proceeds going toward research at SSI. Among those present during the day were Professor Peter McCluskey, Director of SSI, and Associate Professor John Grigg, paediatric ophthalmologist and Head of the Discipline of Clinical Ophthalmology at Sydney Medical School (The University of Sydney).

"We are incredibly proud of the brave efforts that Sara has made" said Professor McCluskey. "The impact that inherited and childhood eye disease has can be massive - on individual children, but also on families and communities. We are well on our way towards finding a cure for blinding diseases like RP, and with the help of people like Sara and the community, we can do much more and do it faster."

An emotional moment was shared by all who were present during the final laps of Sara’s swim, when her 14-year-old son Josh, and Fred, a teenage sufferer of RP, swam alongside her, supported by a crowd that had lined the pool to cheer them on.

A huge thank you to Sara Evans, who has raised well over $50,000 for research into paediatric eye disease at the Save Sight Institute.