Leland, aged five, walks the walk for blind cash
A CAPITAL schoolboy who suffers from sight loss is hoping to complete all four Kiltwalks to raise money for a leading charity helping those with similar conditions.
Leland Paton joined mum Laura and grandmother Sylvia for the five-mile Kiltwalk in the Capital earlier this month and is now determined to take on three others around the country next year.
The five-year-old was born with the sight loss condition aniridia, meaning the iris is partially missing or incomplete, rendering the eye unable to adjust to differing levels of light.
Forthview Primary School pupil Leland participated in the Kiltwalk on Sunday, September 16 to help the charity RNIB Scotland produce more talking books for adults and children who are blind or partially sighted.
It was the first time he’d taken part in any of the annual Kiltwalks – which are also held in Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow – raising more than £700 for the charity.
Asked if he found the walk difficult, he replied: “No, it was easy peasy, lemon squeezy.”
He added: “I liked walking with my mum and grandma.”
Leland is an enthusiastic participant in RNIB Scotland’s youth group, which meets at the charity’s headquarters in Hillside Crescent, Edinburgh, where Sylvia is a volunteer.
Laura said the group is a safe haven for him being with other children who have sight loss.
She added: “He’s been going for about a year, he loves playing at the youth club. I can’t thank RNIB Scotland enough for what the group has done.”
Laura continued: “The Kiltwalk was a great way to give something back. We all wore our RNIB t-shirts with pride.
“Leland is very proud that we all completed it in under two hours. At the start there was lots of rain. He noticed the noise more with so many people about but to keep us going along the route we sang Baby Shark, and people around him joined in doing the actions.”
The trio will take on their first Kiltwalk of 2019 in Glasgow next April, before moving on to the Aberdeen event in June and Dundee leg in April.
They’ll end their journey at 2019’s Edinburgh event in September.
According to RNIB figures, as many as 4.1 million people in the UK will be affected by sight loss in 2050, with an estimated 171,000 currently battling the condition in Scotland.
It’s thought around 25,000 young people are affected by sight loss across the country.
However, Laura says Leland doesn’t have difficulty with his sight loss, adding: “It doesn’t bother him at all. He takes it in his stride and does everything brilliantly”
Leland added: “My favourite thing is playing outside. I want to be a primary school teacher when I grow up.”