A DAD whose eyesight was saved by a cornea transplant from a young donor, will run this year’s London Marathon in aid of a charity which supports blind and partially-sighted children.
Paul Stamp, 33, suffered a sight-threatening condition when he was eight.
The father-of-one, from Kempshott, Basingstoke, said: “I contracted a virus in my right eye which did so much damage that my cornea was permanently scarred, and the eye became useless.
“After many trips to Southampton Eye Hospital, I was put on the waiting list for a cornea transplant.
“This was a fairly long wait as, tragically, I had to wait for someone of my age to pass away before I could receive a cornea.
“There is the added problem of the lack of donated corneas as a lot of people on the organ donor register say ‘no’ to donating their corneas.”
Following a three-year wait, a suitable match was found, Paul was successfully operated on, and had the sight restored in his affected eye.
He said: “Although I cannot see perfectly, I would be completely blind was it not for the successful surgery.”
He is now giving back to a cause close to his heart, and will tackle the Virgin Money London Marathon to raise funds for VICTA (Visually Impaired Children Taking Action).
The charity was founded in 1987 by a group of parents of children with serious eye problems, and helps affected young people and their families.
Paul will take part in the gruelling 26.2-mile run in the capital on April 13, joining around 37,000 others to pound the streets in the name of good causes.
In addition to the raft of celebrities who’ll take part, Olympic superstar Mo Farah will be in action, tackling his first-ever marathon.
Paul, who works for Vodafone in Newbury and hopes to raise at least £1,250 for VICTA, said: “I’m training five days a week at the moment, and will do right up until the race. That includes a 10-mile-plus run each weekend in the local area.
“I’ve done the Basingstoke Half-Marathon every year but I have been ready to drop when I’ve crossed the finish line every time, and this is double the distance, so I’m looking forward to seeing what it takes to get there.
“I’d love to get round the course in under four hours – I’m trying to tell myself it’s just four 10k races!”
Paul’s fundraising page can be found at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PaulStamp.