Local Deafblind Man Takes On 9-Mile Sponsored Walk

Alex Patterson, 54 from Ballymoney, will be taking on a 9-mile sponsored walk to raise money for national sight and hearing loss charity, Deafblind UK. The walk will go from Belfast City Hall to Stormont Parliament and back again, on 12th June 2024.

Alex is deafblind, meaning he has both sight and hearing loss. Alex’s sight started deteriorating in his mid-40’s and he was diagnosed with Cone Rod Dystrophy in 2019. He is now registered as Severely Sight Impaired. He said: “I can’t visually identify people, I need them to speak or state who they are. This often creates a sense of isolation when I’m in a group of people. I rarely travel outside my hometown alone as I lack confidence when on my own.”

Alex is keen to raise money for Deafblind UK in thanks for the support he has received from the charity. Deafblind UK provides specialist support for people affected by sight and hearing loss across Northern Ireland, England and Wales. Sensory Support Officer, James McVicker, has been supporting Alex to adjust to his sight loss. He said: “We have supported Alex through his diagnoses and it’s lovely to see how much confidence he has recently gained. Alex approached Deafblind UK for some support with his mental health, he has now built up the confidence to volunteer with us and help other people who are in a similar position.”

Alex commented on his support from Deafblind UK, saying: “Knowing that there is always someone there who can not only listen, but also offer advice is invaluable. I receive weekly phone calls from a befriender in England and we have built up a fantastic friendship, we both really look forward to our phone calls. I have also been a befriender for Deafblind UK and it is great to be in a position where I can now help support others.”

Alex also wants to use the sponsored walk to raise awareness about the dangers to people with sight loss of parking on pavements and of letting dogs off their leads. He said: “Parking on footpaths often forces people to walk in the road which is particularly dangerous for people who are visually impaired. Also, dogs who are off the lead are genuine trip hazards. Extendable leads also make walking very difficult for me as they get caught around my legs as I can’t see the lead.”

Alex’s walk will take place on 12th June and he will be joined by his daughter Jana and James from Deafblind UK. He hopes to raise £500 for the charity. To find out more or to support Alex, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/page/alex-patterson-1713174323668

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