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Kelowna couple cycles to fight blindness

Jim and Pauline Marshall continue to inspire the community
Jim and Pauline’s team, The Visionaries, raised $2,600 for vision research. (Jim and Pauline Marshall)

A Kelowna couple continues to pedal against loss of sight, leading a group of cyclists to raise funds for Fighting Blindness Canada (FBC).

Avid cyclists Jim and Pauline Marshall led a group of 12, called The Visionaries, on June 21 for a 25-kilometre loop around Gordon Drive. The group was able to raise $2,600 for FBC’s annual fundraiser Cycle for Sight.

This year, Pauline said Cycle for Sight 2020 looked much different than previous years because of COVID-19.

“Typically, this event is an outdoor event. But this year, it was virtual. Jim did a virtual ride on Saturday, and then we did the fundraising ride with our team on Sunday,” Pauline said.

“We made a little bit more than $2,600, which we were really pleased with. The weather was great, and we had a good group of people. Unfortunately, we had a couple of people who couldn’t make it last minute, but they still donated.”

Funds raised through FBC’s Cycle for Sight goes towards vision research, developing resources for the vision impaired, as well as developing treatments and cures for eye diseases.

Pauline said it is important for them to support FBC because they want to help fund research that could prevent eye disease and others going through what Jim is currently going through.

“And of course hopefully down the road, there will be ways they can restore vision. That’s what we’re very hopeful for, for people like Jim,” she said.

Over the years, Jim developed glaucoma, which he had been able to manage well. But then three years ago, he suddenly lost his vision while on a trip to California with his wife, Pauline.

She added that with where research and technology are now, they believe Jim’s sight can be restored.

Above all, Pauline said she and Jim want to help others who may be having difficulties realize they can still live life and do all the things they love to do.

“It’s always been our goal to give people the encouragement that they can do anything no matter what, they just have to do it a different way,” she said.

“There are very few people in the Kelowna area who cycle with vision impairment. They just quit. But don’t quit, because there are ways you can still get out there.”

In all, Cycle for Sight 2020 raised $363,282. If you wish to donate to Fighting Blindness Canada, visit this site.

READ: Kelowna couple pedalling past loss of sight

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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Twila Amato

About the Author: Twila Amato

Twila was a radio reporter based in northern Vancouver Island. She won the Jack Webster Student Journalism Award while at BCIT and received a degree in ancient and modern Greek history from McGill University.
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