Eglinton’s Paralympic champion sprinter and world record holder Jason Smyth was honoured by patient-led charity ‘Fighting Blindness’ at the annual Sporting Lunch fundraiser.
Jason won the prestigious Empowerment Award for his outstanding achievements and support of the ‘Fighting Blindness’ vision; to cure, support and empower people in Ireland affected by vision impairment and blindness.
The award, sponsored by Novartis, is presented annually to someone who has shown incredible commitment and dedication to Fighting Blindness.
On receiving the award Jason said: “It is an honour and a pleasure to win this award and to work with ‘Fighting Blindness’. We are here for a similar reason, to give that support, work towards that cure, help people with sight loss to change their lives.
“It is this kind of support that gives people like myself struggling with visual impairments or no sight at all that hope for something better tomorrow.”
Jason lives with a condition called Stargardt disease which causes progressive loss of his central vision, he currently has approximately 10% vision. He has achieved unprecedented success in several European and World Paralympic Championships.
Often called the ‘Usain Bolt of Paralympics’, Jason won gold in the 100m and 200m at both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympic Games. In October 2015 Jason won the Paralympic Games “Champion of Champions” 100m race in Rio de Janeiro, once again reaffirming his title of “Fastest Paralympian on the Planet”. He is currently training for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and also targeting the Olympics as he aims to make history by running the 100m qualifying time, a feat he just missed out on in London in 2012.
Jason is a proud ambassador for ‘Fighting Blindness’, a small Irish charity with a big vision, to find treatments and cures for blindness. They provide support and information to people living with vision loss and advocate on behalf of 224,000 people in Ireland living with severe vision impairment.