Phil Liggett - TV commentator

Isabelle Russell-Eggitt - Consultant Opthalmologist

Phil LiggettWhen you reach John O'Groats, for a while there is no sense of achievement and you are left wondering what all the fuss was about. Then, as you start the drive home you realize just how far you have pedalled, and then you begin to glow.

The record for the ride was set by Andy Wilkinson in 1990 when the Wirral cyclist reached the far north in one day 21hrs 2min and 8sec! He broke the previous record by just 58 seconds set by John Woodburn eight years earlier.

When I rode with four friends, including my wife Pat, we were having coffee in Bristol as Andy would have been driving home! Mark and Chris will feel just as elated as Andy, John or myself and Pat did on that drive home. Welcome to the Club.

There has to be a reason to cause anyone to attempt such a ride. To a
cyclist who has ridden for 40 years, the end-to-end is not a challenge, but just something to do. To Chris and Mark it is a serious challenge and throughout the ride, especially when it gets tough, over Shap for example, they will remind themselves why they are there.

George is the reason and there will be no finer inspiration than him for them to search for the Scottish horizon. When he's older, he will understand and appreciate what his father and Uncle did as a way of fighting a genetic condition that affects 1 in 17,000 people. Doctors can help those afflicted, but there is no cure for Albinism.

I know what it is like to race the last downhill mile into John O'Groats and in July Chris and Mark will too. Everyone will benefit from that wonderful feeling, so give generously.

Phil Liggett - TV commentator, Hertfordshire 2001

Isabelle Russel-EggittI am George's eye specialist and I work at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. Many of my patients have albinism. They are all very special people.

At the Great Ormond Street albinism clinic we provide an informal focus where families and children can meet and make friends with other people affected by albinism. This is important because some children sadly suffer teasing for being different. It is very useful for them and their families to meet other people in the same situation.

Many people affected by albinism are unable to come to London and for them The Albinism Fellowship is invaluable, as it enables families and individuals to 'network'. This can be particularly important when the diagnosis is first made and the parents of the affected child find they have numerous questions. Often there will be insufficient time for them to discuss these in detail with the eye specialist.

It is great to be able to tell the family that there is a group to help them with all their questions and they are only a phone call away. Many babies with albinism initially appear to be blind - however they will be able to see. It can be invaluable for parents to meet older children and adults with albinism to see what they can and have achieved in mainstream schools with the appropriate visual aids.

Usually I am involved in raising money for "research". Genetics research is very important, but any "cure'' for albinism is a long way off. In the mean time the immediate needs of individuals and families with albinism must be met - this support group is so valuable - please give generously!

Good luck to the team.

Isabelle Russell-Eggitt - Consultant Opthalmologist