Debbie White, a Warwick woman tees up to raise tens of thousands of pounds for eye research with Annual Golf Day

Debbie White, an extraordinary Deaf Blind woman from Warwick, who, with her team, has already raised £400,000 to fund pioneering eye research, is teeing up to stage the 29th Annual Warwickshire Golf Day on July 3 at Stoneleigh Deer Park Golf Club.

Accounts Manager, Debbie White, 59, has the rare genetic condition, Usher syndrome type II, which causes hearing impairment and progressive vision loss due to retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Retinitis pigmentosa occurs as a result of a depletion in cells that detect light, which ultimately leads to vision loss.
There is currently no cure for Usher Syndrome type II, which has recently made the news due to Britney, a character in soap opera EastEnders, being diagnosed with the condition.

Debbie began to slowly lose her sight and hearing as a child, but wasn’t diagnosed until she was 21, after it was discovered that her younger brother, then 17, had the condition.

Warwickshire Fight for Sight Committee

As Head of the Warwickshire Fight for Sight Committee for over 30 years, Debbie has worked tirelessly to raise funds for the charity's pioneering eye research. As well as the Annual Golf Day, she has organised a myriad of fundraising activities, including sky dives, zip wires, cycling challenges, gala dinners and night walks.

Although Debbie acknowledges there may not be a breakthrough in her lifetime to reverse her own vision loss, she is dedicated to enabling research which will benefit others living with vision loss in future.
Debbie says: “Losing two of your senses is really tough, both mentally and physically, and it’s especially hard to come to terms with it at a young age.

“While I’m hoping that my brother and I will be part of the breakthrough in new treatments for Usher syndrome type II, what drives me is that I made the decision not to have children because I didn’t want to pass on the condition, and I want to make sure that no child in the future has to go through what we have experienced.

"I want to make sure that no child in the future has to go through what we have experienced.”

29th Annual Warwickshire Golf Day

The Annual Golf Day has joint headline sponsors again this year, Topcon GB Medical and Performance Finance, but there are many other sponsorship opportunities. The event usually attracts 20-30 corporate and private teams who enjoy 18 holes of golf, followed by a three-course meal, an auction and the prize giving.

There are a limited number of places still available for the Golf Day and players of all levels are welcome. As well as calling on local golfers to sign up, Debbie would like to hear from local individuals and companies who are interested in supporting the event.

Debbie is an avid golfer, who played competitively with a handicap of 11, until her deteriorating eyesight caused her to pause. With characteristic determination, Debbie has since joined England and Wales Blind Golf.

Debbie says: “So long as you know how to hit the ball, you’re welcome! We are aiming to raise £20,000 and we would welcome the support of local golfers and sponsors.”

Earlier this year Fight for Sight merged with fellow sight loss charity Vision Foundation.

Fight for Sight/Vision Foundation CEO, Keith Valentine, said:

“We are so grateful to Debbie for her extraordinary dedication to raising funds for eye research. I’d also like to thank everyone who has so generously supported the annual Golf Day and all the other amazing fundraising events that Debbie and the Warwickshire branch have made happen over the years.”

To find out more and sign up for the annual Golf Day, please click here. If you would like to support the Annual Golf Day or the Warwickshire Fight for Sight Committee, please contact Debbie via [email protected]