Racing for AMD
Sean was diagnosed with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in his 40s. Now Sean is using his AMD as an opportunity to educate others about the spectrum of blinding diseases while fundraising for the Foundation Fighting Blindness.
53-year-old Sean Teare never had any issues with his vision until he reached his 40s. Even then, all he thought he needed was a pair of reading glasses, so he made an appointment to see an optometrist. He even brought his wife so she could help him pick out a pair of glasses she liked. But his optometrist immediately noted Sean’s eyes had a lot of sun damage, and after running further tests, she diagnosed him with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
At the time, Sean had never even heard of AMD, so the news was completely shocking to him. But knowing he was quite young to be diagnosed with this condition, Sean felt compelled to learn more about AMD and take action to help others. After doing some research online, Sean came across the Foundation Fighting Blindness and was immediately impressed by the organization’s work for AMD and other retinal diseases.
A few years after his initial diagnosis in 2016, Sean decided to create a Raising Our Sights DIY Fundraiser to raise money and awareness for the Foundation by running in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. and Arlington, Virginia. Sean reached out to friends and family through emails and shared his diagnosis and his involvement with the Foundation, and the importance of fundraising.
“I did have some reservations about sharing my diagnosis at first,” says Sean. “I wasn’t sure how public I should be about it and didn’t know how people would react. But I’ve quickly realized when you get your story out there, it’s an opportunity to educate, and it may even help others to take care of their eyes better, too.”
Then, in September 2021, Sean completed another DIY fundraiser by participating in a local triathlon near his home in Duxbury, Massachusetts, called the Buzzard’s Bay Triathlon, where he raised over $3,900 for the Foundation.
“It’s a lot of fun, and I feel good about the money I’ve raised,” says Sean. “Doing DIY fundraisers like these are a great combination of providing a goal to strive for physically and helping to raise awareness and funds for the Foundation.”
Sean has always been active, competing in two marathons and several triathlons prior to his diagnosis. But learning about his AMD has been a powerful reminder to stay positive and cherish every moment.
“Having a positive attitude is so important,” says Sean. “A lot of my motivation to continue staying active is my AMD. I want to live a healthy lifestyle and feel like I’m doing all I can to help my AMD not progress any further.”
As a result of creating these fundraisers, Sean has now taken on the role of vice president for the Foundation’s Boston Chapter. By being involved with the Foundation, Sean has met many people with diseases like his, with all spectrums of blindness, and it’s taught him how important having a community is for support.
“It’s really rewarding to be involved with the Foundation,” says Sean. “The Foundation community has helped me cope and stay positive about potential treatments. If I do one day lose my sight, I want to know I did everything I could to make an impact and help find treatments and possibly a cure for AMD and other inherited retinal diseases as well.”
Check out the Mental Health Awareness Month video featuring Sean.