The Diamond Runner – Sydney endocrinologist Terry Diamond – will be running seven marathons over seven days from 18 to 24 March 2012, in a bid to improve awareness of Retinitis Pigmentosa. He has badged his ultra-marathons as ‘The Eye-Con Run’.
It is estimated that ten thousand Australians suffer from retinitis pigmentosa, the rare, hereditary and currently untreatable eye condition that causes deterioration of the retina and leads to severely limited vision and frequently blindness.
Terry Diamond is an Associate Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolic Bone Disease at Sydney’s St George Hospital. He plans to incorporate into his seven daily marathons seven Australian icons.
The Diamond Runner will be begin with running from sunrise at Uluru in the Northern Territory and travel to Fremantle in Western Australia. In the ensuing days he’ll cover South Australia’s Barossa Valley, Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, Canberra’s Parliament House, Queensland’s Gold Coast and finally Sydney’s Bondi Beach.
“It’s a massive undertaking but deliberately so,” he said.
“I want to mirror the tough journey and the predicament that sufferers of Retinitis Pigmentosa face every day throughout their lives.”
He says Australians are fortunate that the pace of scientific and medical research is rapidly increasing, and that as a result the gift of sight can be restored to many with vision impairments.
“For sufferers of Retinitis Pigmentosa, however, their loss of sight is presently permanent and untreatable.
“Indeed, the reality of living with Retinitis Pigmentosa is that those suffering the disease must cope with everyday life while seeing their world slowly disappear.
“Such people face the extraordinary task of living with permanent vision impairment while trying to work towards and succeed at their goals.”
Dr. Diamond has been inspired to undertake his latest multi-marathon venture by 22-year-old University of New South Wales student Pnina Kraus.
“Pnina, who is in the fourth year of an Advanced Science course at UNSW, is living her life the very best she can, despite having been diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa at the age of four.
“She is an adventurous world traveller who loves art, musicals and camping, and has volunteered for three years with youth at home and overseas. Despite her condition, Pnina chases every opportunity life offers her.”
The Sydney physician says The Eye-Con Run seeks to place Retinitis Pigmentosa in the public eye.
“We also want those presently suffering the disease to know that help in coping with the disease is available, and that there is hope for their future.”
The President of Retina Australia, Graeme Banks, says his organisation is “immensely grateful” to Dr Diamond.
“It’s a supreme effort,” he says. “There is little doubt that it will make a significant contribution to our overall fundraising target, and we wish him a safe and satisfying journey.”
Proceeds from Dr Diamond’s run will be used to set up a stem cell research program for sufferers of Retinitis Pigmentosa, in a bid to achieve a therapeutic goal of restoring 20-20 vision in these individuals by 2020.
To donate and follow this incredible cause go to: www.everydayhero.com.au/theeyeconrun