Elaine Manna: skydiving for Moorfields - at 70!
When doctors told Elaine that she had age-related macular degeneration (AMD), she decided to jump out of a plane to support research at Moorfields!
Elaine came to Moorfields in 2013 after suffering from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) for a number of years and losing the central vision in both her eyes.
What is age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition that causes damage to the light-sensitive layer of cells at the back of your eye, causing sight loss.
This layer of cells is called the retina. The macular is a small part of your retina that is critical for central vision, so AMD mainly causes loss of central vision.
AMD affects people over the age of 50. It is the most common form of macular degeneration.
There are two types of AMD:
- ‘Dry’ AMD, which is caused by a build-up of waste material under the macula.
- ‘Wet’ AMD, which is caused by abnormal blood vessels growing underneath the retina and leaking fluids.
People suffering with AMD often experience sight loss or blurring in their central vision. This means they struggle to do everyday tasks like reading a clock or recognising people’s faces.
Around three quarters of AMD cases are ‘dry’, which doesn’t usually cause severe sight loss
AMD affects over 600,000 people in the UK
As well as treating her sight problems, doctors encouraged Elaine to share her experience with other patients to help them cope with AMD.
She began telling her story at patient engagement meetings and ended up sharing her experience with experts Google’s Deep Mind Health. Her talk was even livestreamed on Youtube!
Taking on a fundraising challenge
Elaine was very grateful for her experience with Moorfields. It motivated her to find a way to help others in a similar situation and to say thank you.
I wanted to give something back to Moorfield’s for all their amazing care as I would be in a wilderness without them. They really appreciate how very precious sight is.
Elaine settled on doing a skydive - a challenge that would be impressive for anyone, let alone a 70 year old person with sight loss!
She explains, “Doing a tandem skydive is a challenge at my age – but it is also a privilege.”
Elaine completed her challenge in 2016. Not only was she smiling the whole way down (the photos prove it!), but she also managed to raise an incredible £2080 for Moorfields Eye Charity.
People choose to support Moorfield’s Eye Charity because they care so much about the wellbeing of people living with eye disease. They accomplish so much through their innovative outlook and magnificent work. But ultimately people do it because Moorfields do - and will continue - to save sight.
Elaine’s fundraising efforts will make a huge difference to Moorfields, helping the team to better diagnose and treat people with eye disease.
Dr Pearse Keane, a consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields, says, “Elaine is a truly inspirational woman, a powerful advocate for vision research and her fundraising efforts will make a huge difference to Moorfields.
“On behalf of everyone at the hospital, I’d like to thank Elaine for her incredible efforts.”