March 2017

Imogen, 18, takes on London Marathon to raise cash for eye research

Read time: approx 1 mins

Determined student Imogen Rowe, who doctors said might never walk, is in training for the race of her life – competing in the London Marathon. 

Imogen, 18, who is studying Professional Food and Beverage Service at University College Birmingham, also suffer with an eye condition that causes profoundly distorted and limited vision.

Despite her sight impairment and suffering developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), also known as dyspraxia, she has her heart set on making the finishing line in the 26-mile race on April 23. 

Imogen says: “After years of watching and hearing about it [the Virgin Money London Marathon], and being inspired by my uncle doing it last year, I decided to apply and I've got a charity place which I am delighted about, so I have pledged to raise £2,000.” 

She will be raising money for Fight for Sight, a UK charity dedicated to pioneering eye research. “Vision is very important for everyone so I’d like to join the fight to prevent and end sight loss,” says Imogen. 

She suffers from keratoconus, which affects the cornea, the clear dome-shaped window at the front of the eye. The cornea focuses light into the eye to help produce a clear image. 

According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People, the cornea becomes weaker and thinner at its centre in cases of keratoconus. “This thinning causes it to bulge outwards in an irregular cone shape,” says the RNIB. “This can make your vision blurry and distorted, as light being focused by your cornea forms an unclear image on your retina, at the back of your eye.” 

In addition to her sight difficulties, Imogen has also had to overcome the challenges of dyspraxia, which affects physical co-ordination and can make a child appear to be clumsy. 

“My parents were told I'd never walk as a baby,” recalls Imogen. “Although it took me longer – and after a lot of physiotherapy – I finally proved everyone wrong. With my determination, I was finally walking, so it feels surreal to now be training to run 26.2 miles. 

“I believe my ambition and tenacity has stemmed from having those issues. Crossing that finish line will be the most incredible experience. I think I will be overcome with emotion.” 

To help Imogen raise money for Fight for Sight, please go to her JustGiving page here

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