BBC Lifeline Appeal

In these challenging times, your support is more important now than ever

Retina UK Ambassador Bhavini Makwana being filmed for the BBC Lifeline appeal along with Colin the guide dog

We are super excited to announce that Retina UK will be featured in a BBC Lifeline appeal. The appeal will run for one month on the Lifeline website from Sunday 26 July.

The BBC appeal gives us an amazing opportunity to not only raise vital funds – particularly important during these challenging times – but also to raise awareness and to highlight the challenges faced by the inherited sight loss community and the vital work that Retina UK does.

The appeal will be hosted by Amar Latif who has long been a supporter of the charity. Amar lives with retinitis pigmentosa but hasn’t let it stop him travelling the world and founding Traveleyes. He is appearing in Celebrity MasterChef 2020 in July.

The other members of our community featured in the appeal are our Ambassador, Bhavini Makwana, Russ Stephenson, who was part of the panel at our ‘Experts by experience’ slot at the Professionals’ Conference in 2019 and the Kearney family who have two children living with retinitis pigmentosa and have actively fundraised for us for several years.

Our appeal focuses on the immediate need for information and support for those living with inherited sight loss conditions. It references the practical and emotional support we offer, which brings people together to share information, hints and tips and to offer a supportive listening ear. These connections are invaluable. Some members of our community choose to give back by becoming helpline volunteers, peer support group leaders and completing fundraising challenges.

The appeal will also demonstrate the importance of research. Frustratingly, just one percent of national funding is invested in eye research. We know that 260 faulty genes have been identified and yet there is currently only one treatment available for one of these faulty genes.

Research is enormously expensive and Retina UK has committed £16.5 million into cutting-edge projects since we were founded in 1976.

There is so much more to do and we hope that other therapies will soon be discovered for a range of inherited retinal dystrophies and made available on the NHS. This is only possible if we continue to fund this vital work.

How can I help?

Put the date in your diary, watch the appeal on BBC1 on Sunday 26 July at 1.50pm and ask all your friends, family and colleagues to tune in.

The appeal will be available on the Lifeline website immediately following the broadcast: www.bbc.co.uk/lifeline – you can share this link with anyone who’s not been able to catch it on TV.

Watch out for our social media posts about the appeal and like, share and spread the word!


If you have any questions about the appeal, please call Deborah Laing, Head of Fundraising, on 07841 004564.