Father to climb Kilimanjaro to help save son's sight

Kevin Coghlan will climb Mont Kilimanjaro this month to raise awareness and funds for Leber congenital amaurosis, a sight-threatening condition that his son has

16 Jan 2017 by Emily McCormick

Hertfordshire father Kevin Coghlan will trek to the peak of Mont Kilimanjaro this month to raise funds for research into the sight-threatening condition, Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA).

Mr Coghlan’s son, Jackson, who is now eight-years-old, was diagnosed with LCA at two-and-a-half-months old. The rare, inherited condition, which affects two to three in every 100,000 people, means that his son has lost central vision, has just a small percentage of peripheral vision and is registered blind.

Mr Coghlan has been training hard and climbed Mount Snowdon last year in preparation. He will set off on the eight day charity trek on 21 January.

Reflecting on the reasons for the fundraising trek, Mr Coghlan said: “Jackson is an inspiration – he shows so much strength and courage living with his sight loss every day. Raising awareness and much-needed funds so that one day Jackson may be able to see will be worth all the pain.”

The family has supported Fight for Sight for a number of years and have already raised £20,000 for vital eye research. The Mount Kilimanjaro climb has raised an additional £5,000 to date.

Support from families like the Coghlan’s has helped Fight for Sight fund research that led to the world’s first clinical trial of gene therapy for one form of LCA. However, Jackson has a different mutation known as CRB1, which is still, at present, incurable.

Director of research at Fight for Sight, Dr Dolores Conroy, explained: “The major strands of LCA research are finding the remaining genes that cause the condition and trying to develop new treatments. These include gene replacement therapy, new drugs and transplanting new retinal cells that have been developed from stem cells.”

To support Mr Coghlan in his climb, text KILI17 £10 to 70070 or donate via his JustGiving page. 

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