Imagine cycling up one hill enough times to equal the height of the world's highest peak, Everest. Now imagine cycling this great distance within 24 hours.
Matt Hill took on this immense challenge and managed to ride a whopping 8,848m in only 24 hours earlier this summer. How did he do it? You may well ask. In the words of Matt himself, “[I just needed] the bike and some strong, resilient legs.”
It wasn’t just for fun though. Matt’s hard work and determination resulted in raising an outstanding £4,542.90 for pioneering research to find a treatment for aniridia, a rare condition where the iris, the coloured part of the eye, is missing or incomplete.
The son of one of Matt’s close friends was born with congenital aniridia and is under the care of the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital. Matt took part in this challenge in recognition of the care this child has received at Moorfields and to give hope to everyone with this disease.
What Matt raised actually exceeded the initial goal by about 50%! The money raised will support the Cells for Sight project at Moorfields’ research partner, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.
Led by Professor Julie Daniels, the Cells for Sight project is using stem cells to build a model of aniridia related keratopathy (ARK). ARK is one of the conditions which threatens the precious sight of people with aniridia, and researchers hope that, if successful, this model will allow them to investigate the mechanisms underpinning ARK in order to develop novel therapeutic strategies to prevent or delay the visual impairment it causes.
While the initial findings of the research are very promising, there is still a long way to go, and support such as Matt’s is vital to its continued progress.
Moorfields Eye Charity would like to congratulate Matt on achieving such a phenomenal challenge and for raising such a wonderful amount to support this important research.