Jackie Carroll, from Santry in Dublin 7, ran the VHI Mini Marathon in 2016 and raised €270 in aid of Sightsavers. We chatted with her about why she supports us and learned her personal story.
What motivated you to fundraise for Sightsavers?
I’ve done the mini marathon a couple of times before, but it’s been a few years. I probably wouldn’t have done it this time around, but I was lucky enough to have two cataracts removed this year and wanted to give someone else the same opportunity if I could.
Can you share with us your own experience of sight loss?
I’ve always been very short sighted, but developed the first cataract a couple of years ago. The sight in my right eye deteriorated very quickly, but I could manage as my left eye was still good with the lenses or glasses. Of course, the waiting list for surgery is long and by the time I got an appointment in Beaumont my left eye was starting to become a problem too. I was panic-stricken for fear my left eye would end up as bad as my right – I knew it would be impossible to continue in my job as a bookkeeper. I was worried about how I’d keep up the mortgage repayments and how I could keep my son in college (there are only the two of us). Luckily I had the two operations before things reached that point. No doubt you’re very aware of the miraculous nature of the operation. I only need glasses now for reading or computer work, I’d previously had to have them all day every day.
How has your life changed since having cataract surgery?
I can live with the reading glasses, just as I could live with the contacts and glasses before them. I’m delighted I can work, drive and take in all the sights. I can go anywhere I like and see everything along the way.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to be seen by Mr Fulcher in Beaumont or to have operations in the Mater hospital in Ireland, or to have vision problems that can be fixed so readily. It seems appropriate that I try to address that in some way.