Retina Australia ACT fund-raising lunch
Todd Collins and Tiffany Poke, Robin Poke, Tim and Tami Collins and Gemma Poke and Peter Edwards. Photo: Lyn Mills
The annual spring racing fundraising luncheon for Retina Australia ACT was a colourful gathering with all the trappings of a day at the races, but I didn’t see one horse.
Not unusual perhaps as the social side of racing is what gets people to the track. And as a fundraiser it works a treat.
Retina Australia ACT has a perfect spokesman for its organisation in their president Robin Poke. His tireless efforts, great sense of humour and no nonsense get on with it attitude is how he copes with this insidious disease that is not painful – unless you’re bumping into things – is not contagious, life threatening or infectious but is debilitating to various degrees over a long period of time.
Robin Poke’s diagnosis was made in England after his rugby mates complained he was tackling them as opposed to the opposing team and thus began a lifetime of coping.
He calls himself lucky as his RP has caused slow contracting of his sight. His coping mechanisms are effective and considerate of those around him as his peripheral vision diminishes. But his friends know how to get his attention and his three daughters and their partners keep an eye on him. He’s fit.
Running marathons, rowing- because you don’t have to look where you’re going – and continues his commitment to the Olympic movement in many and varied capacities. He’s a journalist, a sports administrator, competitor and author with encyclopaedic knowledge of rowing and was a Canberra finalist in the 2011 Senior Citizen of the Year.
But RP is a little organisation in a big field looking for funds for research, treatment, a cure and support for sufferers with genetic research at the heart of so many breakthroughs discovering thus far 100 mutant genes responsible for degenerative vision loss, then there’s stem cell research and of course the bionic eye that has seen great progress and all will probably be part of the equation.
In the meantime life looks good for Robin Poke as he’s going to be grandfather soon and one little baby is going to get a very up close and focused grandpa face to look at.