A brave South Cheshire opticians’ store director, with a ‘severe hatred of both heights and the freezing cold’, is in training to face his fears and take on a gruelling charity mission to climb Mont Blanc.
Michael Elleray, store director at Crewe Specsavers in Market Street for the past 22 years, admits he is also a complete climbing novice. But despite being anxious about facing some of the world’s most treacherous conditions, Michael insists he is all set to take on the six-day challenge.
Every penny goes to charity
Setting off to the Alps with a team of eight people on Saturday 28 June, Michael and the group plan to reach the summit by Friday 4 June, and, having already paid for the trip in full, every penny donated in support of their challenge will go directly to the Insulin for Life, a global diabetes charity.
Diabetes is one of the leading cause of blindness in UK’s working age population. People with diabetes are 20 times more at risk of going blind than someone without the condition. Regular eye examinations can prevent eye damage associated with diabetes as early detection and treatment prevents sight loss.
Nervous and excited
Michael, aged 52, who is also store director of Specsavers Nantwich in High Street, says: ‘I’m a little nervous but very excited about the challenge. I make no secret of the fact that I don’t like heights or the cold so, I’ll be honest, I can’t wait to get to the summit.
‘I’ve bought myself a pickaxe and my training is going really well so I’m as prepared as I’ll ever be.
Raising awareness of diabetes
‘We’ve chosen to support Insulin for Life with this challenge and it is certainly a cause that all of the team at Specsavers are very familiar with.
‘An eye examination can detect signs of diabetes among people who don’t even realise they have it, which is why we urge everyone to have an eye test at least every two years’.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are life-long conditions that if left untreated can lead to heart disease, stroke, nerve damage and blindness.
Diabetes affects the eye in a number of ways; the unusual changes in blood sugar levels seen in diabetics can affect the lens inside the eye leading to blurred vision. This can lead to cataracts if undetected.
Trained to spot the signs
All Specsavers optometrists are trained to spot the signs of diabetes during a regular eye examination. Eye tests are free under the NHS to the over 60s and those under 19 in full-time education, as well as to people already diagnosed with diabetes.
To sponsor Michael’s challenge and donate to Insulin for Life pop into Specsavers in Crewe or Nantwich.