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STAFF NEWS

Ivan R Cammack Optometrists (Chinnor) and friends 
Cycling for Dementia

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Forget Me Knot Cafe needs your donations

We all know someone with memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer's, mental health issues, old age or isolation. Many of us have someone close to us who suffers in one or more of these ways, and we recognise just how much they benefit from the company of people who suffer in a similiar way.

Just as important is to recognise that carers who share similar experiences can gain so much by meeting up to offer support for each other in a relaxing environment, backed up by access to specialist support when needed.

Forget Me Knot Cafe is an informal group, run by trained volunteers and staff, backed up by local specialists - where Groups offer reminiscence based activities and advice in an informal setting.

Ivan Cammack Optometrists (Chinnor, Thame & Wendover) and friends are fund-raising to provide much needed resources for Forget Me Knot Cafe. Our sponsored

Cycle ride on October 1st 2023 will see two challenging rides:

1. For children and inexperienced cyclists - 20Km along the Phoenix trail - no traffic - and plenty of fun;

2. For the more experienced riders and those who fancy taking to the hills - 80Km around the beautiful countryside around Thame & Chinnor - some traffic, and maybe the odd pothole!

Please give as generously as you can to this vital community based club.

Mother Teresa: “Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.”

IVAN TO COMPETE IN SNOW CHALLENGE 2023

This April Ivan will compete in The AJBell SnowSports Challenge in the French Alps in aid of Switch 180 and Snow Camp.

2 days of non-stop snow challenges including biathlon (imagine Ivan with a gun!), a snowshoe hike, downhill parallel slalom racing, a team distance challenge (over 200km), orienteering and more.

"This is a far cry from cycling for charity", Ivan comments.

Snow Camp ‘First Tracks’ provides young people (aged 13-21) with their first experience of snow sports, while being supported by Wellbeing Managers who are professional counsellors and are on hand to lend an ear and provide supportive advice & guidance.

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Over two days they will learn how to ski or snowboard and will take part in life skills sessions focussing on independence, responsibility, confidence and self-esteem.

Often vulnerable, these young people are taught by by qualified instructors and Snow Camp youth apprentices,  who have completed the courses in previous years.

Snow Camp ‘Graduate' takes young people who have completed First Tracks pushing them to complete 6 weekends developing their snow sports skills. They attend life skills sessions, a mental wellbeing workshop, and gain an ASDAN certificate in Sports and Fitness.

Snow Camp ‘Excel' supports young people who wish to pursue a career in the snow sports industry and achieve Level 1 Instructor qualification. After completing Graduate, they train for a further 10 weeks on Excel and have access to mental wellbeing workshops and 1-1counselling sessions.

 

Towards the end of the Excel course the Graduates spend a week in the mountains, shadowing instructors and gaining valuable mountain experience. For many this is their first time abroad, broadening their horizons on a personal level, as well as on an educational level.

Imagine the confidence boost this kind of life experience can give to young people who may not have had the most secure early years.

 

Ivan has chosen to raise funds for Snow Camp, part of Switch 180 which is a national charity providing life changing services to young people.

 

Please give as generously as you can.

 

If you would like make donation to this ‘very cool’ cause, please click here.

RUTH WALKS THE COTSWOLDS IN AID OF ALZHEIMER'S

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Alzheimer’s Society is transforming the landscape of dementia forever.Until the day we find a cure, we will create a society where those affected by dementia are supported and accepted, able to live in their community without fear or prejudice.

Alzheimer's is a truly devasting illness, it steals the essence of your loved one bit by bit, We all know someone affected by it and not only does the person suffer, but those close, cope with having to deal with situations and behavior their loved one would never wish them to. Help for all affected can never come too soon or be too much.

 

Ruth is walking 26 miles with her dad in memory of her grandad and brother in law as well as many others.

 

If you would like to support ruth or see more information, click here 

NISHA'S TRIP TO INDIA

In November 2019 I was part of a team of volunteers, optometrists and dispensing opticians, requested by the Deep Griha Society, to provide eye examinations and spectacles to outlying villages and slums in and around the town of Pune, east of Mumbai. 

DGS is a NGO which has been supporting disadvantaged families and orphans in the community in Pune since 1975. They work to provide education about healthcare, skills to help employment and much more. The slum community around the head office of DGS is home to around 80,000 people who have poor healthcare, hygiene and poverty. Pune iteslf is home to many military bases and is a prosperous industrial town but the surrounding villages usually have limited healthcare on a very intermittent basis.

Our team consisted of 4 optometrists and 1 dispensing optician. Each of us was responsible for part of the team planning from booking flights to in-country travel and hotels. Every step was agreed by the team and we all completed fundraising. This allowed us to reach as many people as possible and to also provide specs at every opportunity we could. 

 

1500 Spectacles were ordered ready made before the project, made by a local optician, allowing us to support a local business.

 

In the villages we usually worked in a school where the all the children were screened as well as most of the local community. Eye examinations were then carried out and spectacles dispensed when needed according to our ready made supply. For those who needed a more complex prescription we could provide a new frame and the patient then had the opportunity to take their prescription and the frame to an outlet in town if they were able. There are many opticians in the high street in Pune but the examinations are often by machines only and there is no ophthalmological investigation.

We were always made very welcome to the village with a ceremony by the head man and our delicious lunches were prepared in the village, dinner plates were piled high, as well as endless cups of chai!

 

We were very fortunate to be working with second year student nurses from Pune University, they provided translation for us, gained experience and in return we were able to share our clinical knowledge with them. An added bonus was them keeping us entertained with singing bollywood songs on our bus journeys!

 

At the weekend we took the opportunity to travel out of town to one of the beautiful hill stations, Mahbeleshwar. A chance to rest before the second week of clinics.

 

After 2 weeks we examined 1230 and provided 825 pairs of spectacles. We referred approx 200 people to the next ophthalmology team mostly for cataract extraction but also suspect glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy etc. Some of these patients we were able to provide magnifiers, allowing someone to read again, look at post, prepare food and read religious texts, what may seem like small things but can be life changing.

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