Photo of blonde child smiling at camera

Denise Whitehead walked 1.5 million steps in the run up to May to fundraise for Moorfields Eye Charity after her best friend’s young daughter, Bella, has been diagnosed with a rare eye condition and is being treated at the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre, Moorfields.

Denise and Bella’s mum, Lucy, have been friends for years, and their children, Ronnie and Bella, are the same age.

We’ve been so close through some really rough times. We ended up having our little ones Ronnie and Bella in the same year. They just mean the world to us.

Denise

Denise (right) with Lucy, Bella’s mum (left)

Ronnie and Bella

At a routine eye check in 2021, Lucy expected her daughter might be diagnosed with a lazy eye (amblyopia). But, instead, they were told that Bella had a very rare eye condition, and doctors were unsure what this meant for Bella’s future or her sight.

Bella has been a patient at the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre, Moorfields, where they’ve recently been able to diagnose her with Best disease. 

What is Best disease?

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Best disease is short for Best vitelliform macular dystrophy.

It is a genetic condition you are born with, that affects a tiny part of the retina at the back of your eye, called the macula.

Best disease causes problems with your central vision but does not lead to total loss of sight and is not painful. It can cause central vision to become blurry, and over time this can become a blank patch.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for Best disease at the moment.

Bella and Ronnie

It has been so tough on Bella’s family not knowing what the outcome may be. Since the diagnosis, it’s now trying to get their heads around what this could mean in the future.

Denise

Denise is celebrated her 40th birthday on 11 May, and she decided to mark it by doing something to support Bella and her family. 

She has set herself the challenge to walk 1 million steps before her birthday - she smashed this target, completing a whopping 1.5 million!

Moorfields have been so amazing with Bella and the family. Every year I raise money for a charity but this year I didn’t even have to think about it. Bella’s such a happy little soul and has the most amazing parents so I’d like to do my bit to help fund research, and maybe get the answers they need one day.

Denise

Photo of blonde child wearing pink tutu, fairy wings and crown

Bella’s such a happy little soul”

Denise lives in a small village in Suffolk surrounded by beautiful countryside. So she’s been enjoying the local area with her two dogs. She finds walking a great way to unwind. 

We are so inspired by Denise’s fundraising! Thank you for being a fantastic part of #TeamMoorfields!