Letchworth auntie takes on Kilimanjaro to save niece's sight
PUBLISHED: 08:34 29 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:49 30 September 2019
A Letchworth photographer will tackle Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for research into an eye condition affecting her six-year-old niece, Sienna.
Emma Fletcher is set to take on the challenge on Sunday next week in aid of the sight loss condition, retinopathy of prematurity - which affects some children who are born premature.
Emma is taking part with her sister, Sienna's mum Catherine Parsi - and the funds the pairs hope to raise by completing the climb will be donated to UK eye research charity Fight for Sight.
The charity funds pioneering eye research into finding the next breakthrough in halting sight loss and treating eye disease.
Retinopathy of prematurity causes the retinal blood vessels to grow in a disorganised way after a premature baby is born, leading to problems with vision.
As a result of having the condition, Sienna has no sight in her right eye and only light perception in her left.
Catherine, from St Albans, said: "We hope to raise lots of money for research into retinopathy of prematurity.
"With my daughter Sienna living with severe sight loss, it's really important to me.
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"We want to build a future that my daughter and others with retinopathy of prematurity can see."
Sienna faces challenges every day, but is fiercely independent and strives to achieve everything her twin brother Joshua can do.
Emma added: "We want to help in any way we can to fund research into retinopathy of prematurity.
"It's really important to raise vital funds for Fight for Sight and to help raise awareness of their brilliant and necessary work.
"By climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, we hope to raise lots of money for pioneering eye research into new treatments for retinopathy of prematurity.
"Our challenge will take us 8 days, Sienna's is life-long!"
Ikram Dahman, director of fundraising at Fight for Sight, said: "A huge thank you and well done to Emma and Catherine for undertaking this huge challenge in aid of Fight for Sight.
"We know that sight loss doesn't have to be inevitable - it's through our fantastic supporters raising money for research that we will find the next breakthrough."
The charity also funds research into other sight-loss conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Emma and Catherine are hoping to meet their fundraising target of £2,000. To support them, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/emmaandcatherine.