Family reunion prompts fundraising challenge

Posted: Friday 01 May 2020

A keen open water swimmer, who has recently reunited with her dad after nearly two decades, has taken on her own unique 2.6 Challenge to support those living with macular disease - after learning he was living with the condition.

Debbie Fish, 46, reconnected with her dad earlier this year after 18 years apart. In their first meeting he explained how he had age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition she had never heard of.

After doing some research online and learning about the support services offered by the Macular Society, Debbie was keen to do more to help. 

Seeing the 2.6 Challenge as an opportunity to support the charity’s work, she decided to do something a bit different to raise some much-needed funds. Because she is missing swimming she said she wanted to involve water in her challenge, so she decided to try and recite the alphabet backwards, while being hosed with cold water.

She said: “I’ve donated and done things for different charities before, but I thought the fact that I was back in contact with my dad, it might be something nice that I could do for him. I read about the work the Society does, the counselling and the support you provide for people and I was just touched by that and the fact that my dad has the condition.

She added: “It was a spur of the moment thing but I wanted to do something fun and a bit light-hearted. I am missing the open water and my husband’s nan taught him to speak the alphabet backwards years ago when he was a child. So I thought what can I do that’s a bit different for 26 and there’s 26 letters in the alphabet.”

The 2.6 Challenge has been created by the organisers of the UK’s top mass-participation sporting events. It officially launched on 26 April: the date the Virgin Money London Marathon was due to take place. As part of the challenge, the Macular Society is asking people to take part in an activity of their choice, based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 to raise vital funds towards research into macular disease. The only requirement is that participants must follow Government guidelines on exercise and social distancing.