Rochelle was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative inherited eye disease, when she was six years old.
Rochelle says “RP is my ‘normal’ and I have lived a full and happy life. Things took a drastic twist recently, however, when both my young sons were diagnosed with RP also.This news shattered my husband and I, as well as the rest of our family. With no other instances of RP in the family, it was not really something we had expected or prepared for!”
This development has made Rochelle more determined than ever to focus her energy on being part of the solution, and in supporting research which has a high potential to improve the quality of life for her boys in the future.
Wanting to help make a difference, not just for the future of her own two little boys, but for patients and families everywhere who are faced with blindness, Rochelle and her sister Lisa have teamed up with other patients and families from Save Sight Institute to form the SightFighter group at Save Sight Institute.
“We are the people with the most to gain so it makes sense for us to be involved in finding better treatment options” says Rochelle. “If we don’t contribute and show our support then how can we expect others to work tirelessly until a cure is found?”
SightFighter is not just about fundraising, it’s also about sharing stories, meeting each other and raising the profile and impact of research into eye diseases.
“I dream of a community of patients and families who play an active role in moving the research forward” said Rochelle.
“We’ve been interviewed by a few newspapers about becoming a SightFighter, and I’ve really appreciated being able to raise awareness of RP and highlight how hard the researchers are working to find a cure. In just six months last year we raised almost $6000 to help support research at SSI, and we plan to do much more this year.
“I invite you all to join us. There is no financial obligation – just a willingness to stay informed and to be a part of something in whatever capacity you can.
“Whoever you are, wherever you come from: if you are fighting for sight, we want you on our team.”
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