Two members of the eye team from Epsom and St Helier hospitals are set to make a splash later this month, when they take on an open water swim to raise money for a brand new service for children and young people with brain injuries.
Head Orthoptist Eleanor Burley and Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist Jane Leitch are taking on the challenge to raise funds for a new clinic based at the Tadworth Children’s Trust, where children and young people with brain injuries are cared for. Currently, patients at Tadworth have to travel to Epsom or St Helier for their ophthalmology care, but the new clinic will be based at the trust.
Jane said: “The work that we do with Tadworth is incredibly important – your eyes are an extension of the brain, and in cases of injury, the neurological pathways that take messages from your eyes to your brain can be damaged and sight lost. We’re there to diagnose and treat those who have sight impairments and vision loss, and help their families and carers make adaptations to optimise visual performance. We are delighted to be able to take our service to Tadworth – saving our patients time and allowing them to avoid what can be quite difficult journeys to our hospitals.”
The two colleagues will be diving in to the Serpentine in London for the one mile swim – the equivalent of 64 lengths in a standard pool – to raise funds for new equipment in the clinic, including an electronic vision chart.
Eleanor said: “Training hasn’t been easy so far – I do enjoy swimming, but wild swimming is a completely different experience! There’s a lot more to contend with – I found myself face to face with five swans recently, and it was honestly quite terrifying. But it’s for a great cause, and I know that’ll power us through that one mile stretch of cold, Serpentine water. We are really passionate about the care we provide and want to be able to contribute to the state-of-the-art equipment that we will need in the new clinic. It will make a huge impact on the rehabilitation process for these young patients, and every penny will count.”
To sponsor Eleanor and Jane, visit their Just Giving page at: www.justgiving.com/teams/SwimforSight.