Wanstead dad climbs three mountains blindfolded after being inspired by visually impaired daughter
PUBLISHED: 17:00 05 June 2019
Lots of people have completed the gruelling three peaks challenge in 24 hours, but few can say they did it with their eyes shut.
A father from Wanstead has climbed Mount Snowdon in Wales, Scafell Pike in England and Ben Nevis in Scotland, blindfolded.
Matthew Lee took part in the challenge - which began on Friday, May 31 and ended on Saturday, June 1 - after his nine-year-old daughter, Alexa, was diagnosed with a rare eye condition called brittle cornea syndrome.
The disease causes the cornea to thin and sufferers gradually lose their sight.
"The climb was incredibly tough at times, but nothing compared to what Alexa has to tackle," said Matthew.
"Just thinking of the family kept me going and I'm massively grateful to my fantastic mates for joining me and helping."
The Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) supported the family after Alexa was diagnosed and Matthew decided he wanted to raise money for the charity.
He was guided up and down the mountains by friends, who spent the last few months training alongside him, and the group raised £22,000 in the process.
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"RSBC were there for us when we were really struggling," he added.
"They offered us emotional support and helped us to see that Alexa's life is still full of brilliant opportunities.
"We just want to do all we can to open conversations about a little-known issue and with Alexa's story, help change negative attitudes people seem to hold about blindness."
Alexa has recently been the subject of her own documentary for CBBC and in the programme, If I Go Blind, she talks candidly about her sight loss and the impact her deteriorating vision has on her life and future dreams.
She also reveals her bucket list of things she wants to experience before she loses her sight entirely.
Dr Tom Pey, chief executive of RSBC, said "We are hugely grateful to Matthew for taking on this immense challenge.
"We are united with Matthew and his family in ensuring a better future for the 45,000 children growing up with sight loss in the UK.
"Like his amazing and tenacious daughter, he is determined to conquer something that many would believe impossible."
Matthew covered an estimated 44 kilometres in 24 hours with a total ascent of 9,800 metres, visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/3-peaks-blind