The journey covers 1,376 miles over a couple of days, aiming to raise funds for the Sightsavers charity in the hopes of helping those with trachoma by raising awareness and fundraising.
“Trachoma is the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness, with 136 million people at risk of going blind from trachoma and it is part of a group of conditions known as neglected tropical diseases (often referred to as NTDs).” With the cause in mind, on the 16 September, Danny de Matos and his friend John Warner set off on the ferry from Portsmouth to Saint-Malo in France and then on the 17 September, they start their motorcycling marathon all the way down to Danny de Matos home in Azeitão in Portugal, “in hopes of raising at least 1,000 pounds for the Sightsavers charity in order to help eliminate trachoma around the world. It has been eradicated in Ghana in 2021, proving that this (once common disease in the UK in Victorian times) can also be eradicated everywhere with your help.”
I asked what caused Danny de Matos to choose to support the Sightsavers charity and he told me that “we can be quite numb to charity adverts but a Sightsavers charity advert really struck him and prompted his action which was that of a young girl with flies in her eyes and because of the constant unbearable pain she and many others are in due to trachoma they pull out their eyelashes which actually causes the disease to worsen and he really wanted to make a difference and do something about this because trachoma “starts off as a bacterial infection that is a bit like conjunctivitis, and can be easily treated”.” He also went on to tell me that a colleague of his had a special connection to the Sightsavers charity because of how much they helped and supported her mother’s own blindness which led him to find out more about Sightsavers which is a “charity that aims to prevent avoidable blindness and save the sight of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
Although this disease is treatable with antibiotics, and in some cases, surgery is needed, if left over time it “causes scarring to the eyelid that pulls the eyelashes inward, so with every blink they scrape against the eye. This advanced form is called trichiasis and the pain can be so intense that many people resort to pulling out their eyelashes to reduce agony of blinking, sadly, if not treated over time, trichiasis can lead to blindness.”
Your donations will allow children and adults in more than 30 countries across Africa and Asia to be taught good hygiene, environmental improvements and proper medical care. Danny de Matos states on his page that “Just a penny a mile will raise £13.76. If you can't donate, find out more about trachoma”. To kindly donate to Danny de Matos motorcycling marathon and to help people suffering with trachoma please donate, if you can, on his JustGiving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/danny-de-matos. Additionally, to see how Sightsavers is fighting trachoma and for more information please see www.sightsavers.org.