Among the thousands of runners taking part in this year’s Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run who will be raising funds for good causes will be Caroline and Mark Fogg from Tameside and nine of their friends and relatives.
Their 8 month-old daughter Minnie was born blind after inheriting Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis, a rare eye condition which affects the photographic plate at the back of the eye, meaning images aren’t sent to the brain properly.
The disease affects two or three people in every 100,000 in the UK. Currently there is no cure.
When Minnie was registered blind at the end of December 2018, Caroline and Mark decided to raise as much money as possible to fund research into the disease.
They set up Minnie’s Miracle Fund with eye research charity Fight For Sight and will kick off their fundraising efforts with the Great Manchester 10K Run.
“Receiving Minnie’s diagnosis was devastating,” said Caroline. “It felt really huge and life changing; we felt so sad. Working with Fight for Sight has given us real hope. It’s given us the opportunity to raise money and awareness to help Minnie and all sufferers of LCA – and we’re actually doing it.”
All money raised will be ring fenced in a family fund so that it goes specifically to researching LCA in Minnie’s name.
“Family funds are amazing things when it comes to pushing forward science and innovation to cure these awful conditions,” said Caroline. “We hope to raise as much money as we can and would love to achieve £10k in the first year!”
The Great Manchester Run route takes runners through the heart of Manchester and passes tourist sites such as the Imperial War Museum and Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium.
“Having had Minnie, our second child, in July last year I’m at my most unfit (probably ever) so this is a great challenge to take on. I’ve started the training and am enjoying getting fitter as a side benefit although these cold cold nights are not being kind.”
There are currently two million people living with sight loss in the UK. Caroline and Mark will now be raising money to support vital eye research that could lead to the next breakthrough for Minnie’s condition.
“A huge thank you to Caroline, Mark and all of our runners for 2019,” said Ed Jackson, events manager at Fight for Sight. “We know that sight loss doesn’t have to be inevitable – research we have funded is already showing promising results for patient benefit. It’s through our fantastic supporters raising money for research that we will find the next breakthrough.”