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THE MACULAR
DEGENERATION COMMUNITY

Ruth
photo

Name
Ruth Hollingshead

Born
January 28, 1974

Home
Isle of Wight, UK

Diagnosis
Stargardt's disease

Eyes Affected
Both

Eye Color
Green

Age at Diagnosis
11-12

Visual Acuity
CF 4', 20/2000

Treatment
Laser surgery for torn retina about 11 years ago, but none for Stargardt's.

Prognosis or Current State of Vision
My vision has been pretty stable for the last few years, and like most on the MDLIST I am sitting waiting for medical advances and some day a cure.

Family History
No family history of Stargardt's, but both my parents are obviously carriers of the defective gene. I have one sister and she has perfectly normal vision.

Impact On My Life
I have lived with stargardt's for over 16 years and cannot remember my vision ever being any different. The main frustrations for me has been not being able to learn to drive, and not being able to read to my children.

Positive Effects
I take the time to look at sunsets and landscapes and really appreciate all the wonderful things I can see.

Adaptations
I have a CCTV and screen reading/magnification soft ware on my computer. I also have various talking low vision aids at home, and I have learned, and now teach, Braille.

Working
I worked in a pottery for 2 years and as a telephonist for 3 years. I have been a full time, stay at home mum for the last 4 years, and this is the hardest work I have ever done.

More About Me
As of this date (May 2002), I have been married for nearly 7 years to Richard. We have two children: Erika (4) and Fletcher (3). I have been an active member of my local Dark Age Re-enactment group for the last 11 years, and that is where I met Rich.

Article from the Isle of Wight County Press
April 16, 2004


photo of ruth and sister
Ruth Hollingshead, left, and her sister,
Sarah Keeping, get set for the London Marathon.
(Picture by Georgia Russell)

RUTH READY FOR DREAM RUN
By Clare Wall

    A blind Carisbrooke woman will realise a childhood ambition on Sunday when she and her sister run the Flora London Marathon together.

    Ruth Hollingshead, 30, of Priory Road, has had macular cone dystrophy for 20 years and in 1998 was registered blind. The genetic condition means that although she can see her feet and the sky, everything in between is in darkness. Her sister, Sarah Keeping, 27, of Clarendon Court, Newport, is accompanying her as a guide runner and both will be raising money for the Macular Disease Society, which needs funds to raise awareness and pay for research.

    "We have been training since November, which I suppose isn't that long," said Ruth, whose husband, Richard, and children, Fletcher, five, and Erika, six, will be avidly watching the television on Sunday morning. "I think we are both ready for it but I suspect that I'll be dragging Sarah around by the end of it."

    Ruth added that she got the bug for the marathon as a child and decided then that one day she would take part. "I never thought we would get places but we got in first time and now I am really looking forward to it." Ruth and Sarah hope to raise around 350 through running the event.



A recent cover photo:

another photo of ruth and sister