Fundraising while flying through the wind

James Kimmingsin Industry News

After learning that former greenkeeper John Turner had lost his eyesight we wanted to connect with John about the situation and learn more about his story.

Johns' stepdaughter Lauren Horler has been extremely supportive of him. She aims to raise funds for the Staffordshire Sight Loss Association as she undertakes a skydive on the 7th of September. We asked Lauren all about the fundraiser in this Q and A.

When did the idea to do the fundraiser first come into your mind?

Someone close to me did one recently, I decided it would be a great way to raise money for charity and I've always thought about doing a skydive. I have just never sat down and booked it; that was probably out of fear.

Having been someone close to John, how has the situation affected him?

Watching someone you love become deeply depressed over such a short period of time is devastating. You don't know the right thing to say and you feel useless.

What are your aims from the fundraiser?

My aims are to raise awareness of the charity, but also the realisation how fast life can change for people. I want to add crucial funds to such a small but important organisation in the local area.

If the fundraiser is successful, would you consider doing anything else in the future?

Yes, I would like to help John host a charity golf day in the Staffordshire area. If any clubs or businesses are open to helping us achieve this, we would be extremely grateful. I would also like to be more hands-on with the actual charity so have volunteered to do some work around their social media.

Why was it so important for you to do something to raise funds for the charity?

After seeing how much the charity has helped John and our family it was only right to give back. They have been phenomenal in helping our family process such an unexpected change. You never know when you could need a charity like this.

Why skydiving?

It's a terrifying thought, but something I would like to overcome and say I've achieved.

Can you tell us a little bit about John and how the situation has changed his life from your point of view?

It changed the family dynamic greatly. John lost his routine and was stuck hanging around the house a lot and we were all having to take the role of being his eyes. You don't quite realise how much you rely on your sight until someone around you loses it. For example, I would be at work or university and John would Facetime me to ask how long something needed to go into the oven - tasks we would see as very simple and straightforward weren't easy for him any more. Even making a cup of tea in the morning was almost impossible at the beginning and he would get frustrated he couldn't do things. He was having to relearn how to do daily activities and we were trying to adapt the house so he could regain independence. He has adapted to his new way of living very well and sometimes I forget he has lost his sight!

Do you think that previous situations at work had built up for John, unfortunately, causing him to build up unwanted stress?

We don't know for sure if stress was the direct cause of him losing his sight. However, John was under a lot of pressure and stress at work which was not being dealt with effectively by the workplace. John expressed on multiple occasions how stressed he felt and how badly he felt treated at work. It would have been great to get an actual reason as to why he lost his sight.

How has the charity helped John to adapt to this new way of life?

The charity has supported John and the family by giving guidance, support and financial advice. They offered support on how to regain independence in the house and when taking the big step of leaving the house alone. Staffordshire Sight Loss Association have regular group meetings which John and my mum have attended. The group sessions helped them both understand how other people have coped and their methods of coping but also allowed my mum to express the difficulty working full time and worrying about everything. John also had help from Stoke-On-Trent social services who came round the house once a week to help us adapt the house.

How has it been for the rest of the family to adapt?

Myself, my sister and stepbrother have been there for my mum and John during this difficult time. It has been very weird for all of us with trying to adjust. We try to give better descriptions of things and also when we are out, we try to make sure John doesn't feel lost or overwhelmed, particularly in crowds or busy towns. We've all seen the effects it has had on everyone and we all try to be there for one another.

Follow this link to help with the fundraiser.