Local deaf and blind woman's agonising decision over becoming a mum

A Warwickshire Deaf Blind woman who has raised £400,000 for charity is 'working tirelessly' to raise awareness of a rare genetic condition. Accounts Manager, Debbie White, 59, has 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.

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.

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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 said: “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.”

A 29th Annual Golf Day will be held on July 3, at Stoneleigh Deer Park Golf Club, as part of their fundraising efforts. For more information, go here