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Vision and Eye Healthcare Q3 2023

Sight loss doesn’t dim my sense of adventure

Tricia Sail (left) best-friend Cathie Rowe (right)

Tricia Sail (pictured left)

Sight Loss Champion and winner of BBC TV’s Race Across the World S3

Tricia Sail shares how a strong spirit and sense of adventure, helps her navigate daily life and propelled her, together with best-friend Cathie Rowe, to cross the finish line first in BBC TV’s Race Across The World S3.

What prompted you to apply for the Race Across the World?

I absolutely loved watching seasons 1 and 2 of RATW and thought it would be an epic adventure. I also wanted to show people that if you’ve got sight loss it doesn’t stop you. You can still do stuff with visual impairment.

You have significant sight loss, how does your condition affect your vision and how did it impact you as you raced 16,000km across Canada?

I suffer from a severe form of Uveitis. At the time of filming, I had about 10% vision in each eye. This made it impossible for me to do things like map reading or driving. But Cathie is amazing. She supported me the whole way and I used Harry Cane (my white stick!) to guide me.

I also had this digital camera that I used to take pictures of the landscape or bears or stunning things along the way. Then I would zoom in on the pictures so I could get a look at what others has seen.

What was the most difficult situation you faced during the race?

I did get really anxious in city centres when I couldn’t make shapes out. Something could be a group of people, a letterbox or a car!

What was you most memorable moment?

There were so many ‘pinch-me’ moments. A bear on the roadside. It was magnificent! Also seeing the sunset in Churchill as Cathie and I sat on the frozen sea with our legs dangling in an ice hole.

How’s life changed since the race?

My life is dramatically different. My anxiety is nowhere near as bad as it was, my self-belief has gone flying through the roof. I also have a new job as community connections coordinator for RNIB.

What’s next?

In October, Cathie and I are doing a 5-day trek on the Great Wall of China with Zainib and Mobeen. Then next year all the contestants from Series 3 are joining up to do the Manchester 10K. We’ve all stayed in touch and are friends for life.

Are you watching Celebrity Race Across the World?

I am, and I’m loving it!

What advice for others living with low vision.

Be kind to yourself. I’ve been learning to live with poor sight and can still function the same as if I had it, it just takes me a little longer to do things.

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