568. Bhavini Makwana
Bhavini Makwana, was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) 19 years ago and, since then, has dedicated her life to supporting others with the degenerative eye disease.
Most notably she has undertaken extensive work to raise awareness of the condition amongst the at-risk Asian community by organising information days combining speakers with activities such as Bollywood dancing. Bhavini also founded ‘Social Eyes’, a support group with a difference which gives people with RP an opportunity to socialise and have fun together. In addition she regularly staffs the ‘RP Fighting Blindness’ charity helpline and organises fundraising events.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“For almost two decades Bhavini has worked tirelessly to support people who, like her, are living with Retinitis Pigmentosa. Her work to raise awareness of the condition amongst Asian communities and create the Social Eyes support group is changing the lives of people with RP and those at risk of developing it. Bhavini is a Point of Light.”
“I feel humbled and extremely grateful and it’s an honour accepting this award and to be recognised for my passion in promoting and fundraising for RP Fighting Blindness. They helped me find confidence within myself and made me realise you can still achieve your ambitions even with Retinitis Pigmentosa. It took me a very long time to accept and come to terms with my deteriorating sight loss and wanted to reach out to others who may be going through the same and raise awareness of the invaluable support RP Fighting Blindness provides.
To be able to find a treatment and cure would be amazing, my dreams of one day being able to see the faces of my children as they grow up and my family and friends would mean the absolute world to me.
Thank you RP Fighting Blindness for helping me live my life to the fullest and may we continue your excellent service, support and advice you provide and reach out to more people who are lost out there. Thanks for my recognition and thank you to my family especially my husband Paresh for their support in enabling me to do what I do”