Paddling non-stop for acanthamoeba keratitis
Hi! I am Jelle, and I am going to paddle NON-STOP for 210 km in September to raise awareness for acanthamoeba keratitis.
Imagine, jumping into a swimming pool in Italy, while accidentally forgetting to take out your contact lenses before…
Not something very daunting right?
Well actually it was the start of a horrific journey that someone I know has gone through. As in that swimming pool, like many others, there was an amoeba (tiny organism), that went behind her lenses, and got trapped. The amoeba had nowhere to go, but to go into her eye… Over the months that followed, she suffered extreme levels of pain, and could not bare the light at all. It completely isolated her from her normal busy life as a mom and professional. Luckily the doctors were able to save her eye. And now she is much better.
This story is just one of the few I came across of a person that had an encounter with this amoeba causing a very rare infection, resulting in a medical emergency. This infection is called acanthamoeba keratitis, after the name of the amoeba. Treatment today is very demanding, starting with a period of a week dosing your eye with multiple eye-drops, every hour, day and night. NON-STOP.
After talking to these people it motivated me to do whatever I can to help improve their journey. I was just searching for an appropriate way of doing so.
Then in September 2021 I witnessed my Stand Up Paddle trainer doing something incredibly inspiring. Paddling 33-hours non-stop to finish the 210km 11-city race in the North of The Netherlands. This was not an easy journey. She fell, injured herself already in the early stage of the race, but persisted and finished the day after. She endured!
I had found my challenge which I could use to create awareness of acanthamoeba keratitis, while also generating funds for the patient advocacy group for this debilitating disease.
Please support me in supporting people that are affected by acanthamoeba keratitis. Your donation will be bundled with all the others and handed over to the patient advocacy organization at the 11th of September, the day of my anticipated finish.