William Oviatt is running the Edinburgh Marathon to raise money for Sight Scotland to say thank you for all the help and support the charity gave to his family when his daughter, Sofie, was diagnosed with retinal dystrophy.

William and his wife Debbi, both from Edinburgh, realised something was seriously wrong with Sofie’s vision when she was just six months old. Sofie had a noticeable wobble in her eyes and was struggling to track objects at baby classes. Several months later Sofie was diagnosed with retinal dystrophy, a group of genetic eye conditions that affect the light sensitive cells in the retina. It is incredibly rare in children and something she will have for life.



William Oviatt, Head of Business Development, and Income Generation at the Thistle Foundation, explains: “Discovering that your child has visual impairment is heartbreaking and can cause a whirlwind of emotions, and we are just so thankful we had Sight Scotland there to help and support us. On Sunday 26th May, I’ll be running twenty-six miles in the Edinburgh Marathon to raise funds for Sight Scotland and to support children like Sofie who are visually impaired, blind or suffer from sight loss.”

William says the first appointment with the consultant, when it was confirmed that Sofie had vision impairment, was devastating. He says: “The first appointment with the consultant was heartbreaking, as we were told the devastating news that Sofie has visual impairment and that there was nothing they could do, as no treatment would help Sofie’s eyes. For Sofie to be given this lifechanging news at such an early age was extremely hard to take. It was such an emotional, confusing time, Sofie was just a typical, happy, baby so it was difficult to comprehend why this was happening to her.



“But after that we were just left to it, we had been given the information by the doctors but were offered no help of what we should do next. Sofie was just your typical, happy, baby so we couldn’t understand why this was happening to her. So we reached out to various charities to try and build relationships and get a better understanding of what we were facing and what we could do to help Sofie.

“Sight Scotland has been amazing; the charity has a real community and family feel. The emotional support has been just so important, just having someone to talk to, who understands what we are going through, has been invaluable. We are in a club that we didn’t want to be in, but we are now so proud to be in it. Whether it is signposting, listening, supporting or the policy group giving us a voice, they are always there to answer our questions and fill in the gaps. There is no way we would feel so strong if it wasn’t for Sight Scotland.”



William adds: “This is why I am running to raise money for Sight Scotland, as the support they have given to Sofie, and to Debbi and myself, has been life changing, and I can’t thank them enough and want to give something back.”

To sponsor William for running the Edinburgh marathon, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/page/william-oviatt-1711574274491

For more information on Sight Scotland please visit: sightscotland.org.uk