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Cancer survivor beginning to lose his sight sets sail around Ireland to raise money for charity

Limerick man Chris Egan aims to sail around Ireland in two months.

Chris Egan sets sail today.
Chris Egan sets sail today.
Image: RNLI

A MAN WHO suffers from a rare genetic disorder that obscures his sight, and will eventually make him blind, has set sail on a trip around Ireland to raise money for the RNLI and Irish Guide Dogs.

The trip will see Chris Egan travel around the country for two months, on a trip he hopes will “promote sailing for people like me who may have been sailing for years but who have acquired a disability”.

Limerick native Egan, from Foynes Yacht Club, has done this before. He circumnavigated Ireland with fellow sailor David Bevan in 2013 after they were both diagnosed with cancer. They raised €25,000.

Since then, however, Egan has successfully received treatment for cancer but has been diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a debilitating eye condition that will eventually cause him to lose his sight.

He has undergone training with Irish Guide Dogs in the use of a long cane for mobility, and training on independent living skills, ahead of him getting a guide dog in the future.

Egan hopes to use this initiative to show that visually impaired people can still live a normal life and learn specialist skills to get ahead.

Alongside Bevan and Jim Humphreys, Egan will sail their 38ft yacht Tranquility around the country, hoping to return to Foynes in the first week of July.

18198557_1395238297181218_1772118362684261772_n (1) Source: RNLI

“Our adventure is called Gangway for Guide Dogs,” he said.

For me, as well as raising awareness and funds for Irish Guide Dogs and the RNLI, this challenge is also promoting sailing for people like me who may have been sailing for years but who have acquired a disability.

Brian Curtin, community fundraising manager at the RNLI, said: “This is a fantastic challenge and one cannot but be inspired by Chris’s determination, encouraging attitude and his generous willingness to raise awareness and funds for ourselves in the RNLI and the Irish Guide Dogs.”

Updates on how Egan and his friends are getting on can be found here.

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About the author:

Sean Murray

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