A student from Northamptonshire will climb a mountain blindfolded after being inspired by his sister who has been blind since birth.
Edward Smith from Moreton Pinkney - a village west of Towcester - will attempt a blindfolded mountain challenge in Thailand to raise funds for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
The 21-year-old, philosophy student’s older sister, Harriet, is 32 years old and has been blind since birth. Harriet is an avid reader and Edward believes without RNIB and its braille library, this would not be possible.
Edward said: “My sister has always inspired me by the way she navigates a world that’s designed for people with sight. I’ve wanted to fundraise for RNIB for a while as a thank you for their support over the years and I thought this could be the perfect time.
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“Hopefully this challenge will help raise awareness of the barriers people with sight loss face daily.”
Prior to the challenge, Edward and Eimear practiced in the UK, including Edward wearing a blindfold to a shop, guided by Eimear.
He added: “Wearing a blindfold to the shops was somewhat of a taster. Navigating the streets with no sight and finding what I needed in store was challenging. It was only for around thirty-minutes so it will be interesting to do the full seventy-two hours blindfolded in Thailand.
“I’ll need Eimear’s support not just for walking but maybe even with food, getting dressed and so on.”
Edward is planning to climb Khao Chang Phueak, a picturesque mountain approximately 1,249 meters above sea level and will be blindfolded for a total of 72 hours across the trip. He will be live streaming and posting regular updates on his Instagram @blackout_blindfold.
Chris Perrin interim challenge events senior manager at RNIB said: “We would like to wish Edward the best of luck with this incredible challenge. His bravery is admirable, and we look forward to following his journey on social media. He will surely be doing his sister proud.
“The money raised will help support more than two million blind and partially sighted people in the UK.”
To support Edward’s fundraising efforts for RNIB, visit his JustGiving page.