An enthusiastic group of individuals from the Johnson & Johnson Vision Success Through Education Programme (STEP®) team braved last year’s wet autumnal weather as they ran, hiked, swam and cycled to fundraise for ‘Step Up For SeeAbility’. 

The STEP® team (you can see some of them in the banner above), all aspiring eye care practitioners, were motivated by seeing SeeAbility's eye care team in action and learning about our mission to improve sight for the UK’s 1.5 million people with learning disabilities.

Johnson & Johnson Vision and SeeAbility have worked collaboratively over the past year to improve eye care and make sight testing more accessible for people with learning disabilities. The team have worked directly with the teaching faculty for Johnson & Johnson Vision, who deliver educational lectures and workshops to emphasise the importance of eye health.

Through an amazing series of sponsored physical activities, which included the Ironman Triathlon, a marathon cycle ride, a 50km run and hiking the Goring Path National Trail, the ten member challenge team raised an incredible £4,692. This was matched by Johnson & Johnson to take the total to a staggering £9,392.

The money raised will continue to provide eye care and vision rehabilitation support, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, and personal behaviour support for people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss.

For many of the team mates, it was the support of friends, family and STEP® colleagues that motivated them to keep going, along with their commitment to their fundraising goal and donors.

As Hasan Akhtar said:

I decided to do the cycling marathon in one go and not being a cyclist, I realised afterwards this was pretty ambitious! Only an hour in and I felt like giving up… but all the sponsorship I received kept me motivated - I couldn’t let anybody down because it was all for such a good cause.

Hasan’s career ambition involves not only delivering the best eye care for patients, but also to make the public aware about the importance of eye health. He was inspired by SeeAbility’s support for people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss and saw the Step Up challenge as something outside of his role he could do to make an impact to help people with sight loss.

Kiran Bola who ran 5km a day for five continuous days, said:

The main motivation for me (especially on my final run) was thinking about the specialist eyecare SeeAbility does and its impact on the community.

As an optometrist, Kiran feels it is paramount to support charities who promote and bring fundamental awareness of eye health and eye care to our communities. She would like to work towards achieving higher qualifications within her field to treat patients within specialist schemes and share her expertise through educational teaching.

Over two weeks in October, Annabel Wall swam, cycled and ran 26.2 miles to complete the Ironman Triathlon.

The consistency was the hardest part, but I always felt better having exercised plus knowing I was raising money for something I really believe in.

Thank you so much to the entire team!