Sarah Canning - a year of challenges
And a step towards reaching milestones
22 March 2023
Sarah Canning, head of optometry at Moorfields Eye Hospital, is taking on a year of competitive challenges to give back to Moorfields Eye Charity, and Heart Research UK.
Sarah Canning is the head of optometry at Moorfields Eye Hospital. Motivated by her parents, she has pursued a career in optometry and has now been working in NHS hospital optometry for over 35 years.
My parents were my motivation in following a career in optometry, and dad, an optometrist, was also a keen cyclist and swimmer. I think it’s fair to say I have been quite influenced by his life journey.
Being the head of optometry at an established institution such as Moorfields means that Sarah’s life is fairly hectic, however, setting this goal is the first step towards realising one of her aspirations: becoming more active as she approaches her 60th birthday and motivating others to do the same.
Sarah is completing this year of challenges along with her optometry colleague, Basia Newson-Smith, who is fundraising for Mungo King of Hearts.
Sarah was prompted last summer during the Bristol Triathlon, in which her son participated.
She was captivated by the achievement of two sight impaired and blind competitors who completed the Bristol Triathlon course accompanied by their sighted guides.
…I never fail to be amazed by the determination of so many of my patients who overcome their sight loss and get on with their lives so positively, but access to activities and adventures can be difficult for some.
Following her year of challenges, Sarah hopes to pursue her goal of becoming a sighted guide.
This is a way to support people with sight loss to participate in sport activity competitions, such as swimming, cycling & hiking adventures.
The year of challenges kicked off on 5 March 2023 with our annual fundraising walk, Eye to Eye.
Since then, Sarah and Basia have completed the Easter Ultra Challenge in April and Beast to the East in May.
Their most recent accomplishments also include:
- Snowdown night challenge in May: Sarah and the group started the climb at 10 pm, reached the summit at 1.30 am, and returned to the base by 4.45 am.
- 1.4 mile Bournemouth Pier to Pier swim - an extra event in preparation for the big Scilly Isles swim in September
- 20-20 cycling/walking challenge on the South downs in July
- Cutty sark rig climb in August: Basia and Sarah climbed the rigging and walked the yard arm of the cutty sark ship
I currently work at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London and have been fortunate to witness remarkable advances in eye treatments realised through ground-breaking research, which can prevent sight loss or restore sight with life changing impacts for individuals and families.
The plan is for Sarah and Basia to participate in monthly events from now until March 2024 to fundraise for Moorfields Eye Charity, Heart Research UK and Mungo King of Hearts.
The reason I want to fundraise for my 2 chosen charities is to support both charities’ quests to reduce the number of lives cut short by heart disease and the number of people whose lives are impacted by irreversible sight loss.
Coming up next:
- December: Winter hike on South Downs & Sea Swim
- January 2024: River Wye, Dawn to Dusk canoe challenge
- February 2024: Marathon dance (tbc)
- March 2024 – TBC (possibly a rock-climbing event)
- April 2024 – Bike event in London with Moorfields Eye bike group (tbc)
- May 2024 – Snowdon climb (tbc)
- June 2024 – Eye to Eye