Peek Macaroons to celebrate the launch of the Peek Retina campaign
I sat at my desk with a sense of disbelief. What had we done? We’d accepted a project and research funding which would involve Madeleine and I having to move out to Kenya, putting our NHS jobs on hold and at risk, and somehow we would have to get a £100k of expensive and fragile equipment, find and train a team and set up eye clinics in over 100 locations across Kenya, many of which with no roads or electricity.
We didn’t know that between accepting and going to Kenya we’d be blessed with a child, move home and start a journey that would change the direction of our lives.
Over the last three years Madeleine has become accustomed to me coming home armed with eye drops, a gadget to look inside her eye and a big grin. Not once has she refused providing her eyes for medical science but I did get in trouble once when the drops didn’t wear off as quickly as usual and she was left to walk the streets with a pupil the size of a frying pan.
With an amazing and gifted team now working on Peek we have managed to prototype and test a device which could change the way we deliver eye care.
Philip, a tall man with a broad smile is a leader in his community, someone that his peers look up to and his family are proud of. He has always relished the responsibility and has a gift with communicating and supporting those around him.
Philip built his own modest traditional home, as well as two adjacent homes for his daughters of whom he is fiercely protective. They live within the central area of a disperse rural community in Kenya, several hours from the nearest town.
In recent years, Philip’s sight has started to fail him. Tasks, which were second nature to him, have become more and more challenging and he has found himself losing confidence and spending more time on his own.
Two years ago, Philip became dependent on his daughters and although delighted to have become a grandfather recently he has never seen his grandson’s face. He feels a deep sense of shame at not being able to help his growing family and community.
Everything changed for Philip when a community healthcare worker came to his home with nothing more than a smartphone. The healthcare worker, working as part of the Peek team, assessed Philip’s vision and took images of his eyes using the low-cost Peek Retina adapter that makes it possible to see inside Philip’s eyes. The information was shared with the nearest eye doctor based three hours away who arranged for him to come for treatment.
Along with twenty-three other visually impaired people in Philip’s community, they were taken by bus to town, three-hours away. As often happens in this situation, Philip began recognising the voices of some of his peers on the bus, friends it turned out had also been silently losing vision.
After what seemed like only minutes on the operating table with the compassionate hospital staff, Philip and his friends were sat together on the ward, with a patch on the operated eye, excitedly discussing what it might be like to see again.
The following morning was a familiar joyous scene. Patient’s smiling, cheering and dancing as their eye patches were removed. The buzz in the bus back home is a mix of wonder and recall. The identification of scenery that had become distant memories and then, approaching home, the recognition of faces not seen in a long time.
As Philip, now holding his stick in the air, rather than as a prop, marched down the path to his home, his family were there to greet him. His grandson, crawling and oblivious to the situation smiles at his grandfather. This time, his grandfather smiles back.
Watch Philip’s story and our 2 minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKjOuSAaZp4
We now at the exciting stage of moving from prototype to produce, and for this we are needing to raise £150,000 to set up the production pipeline. Thankfully, the support we received to win the recent Mazda/TED award means only a further £70,000 needs to be raised to start producing the adapters.
After only 10 days of our campaign we are 75% of the way there!
We have received generous offers of investment, however at this early stage we feel maintaining a focus on a social mission is a priority and hence we are crowd funding.
Fundraising this way means we are able to keep the cost of the adapters low as we work towards reducing needless blindness.
If you are struggling for ideas this Christmas, you can if you would like pledge for a Peek Retina adapter to be sent to a healthcare worker who will help find people like Philip or even pre-order one for yourself.
To view our campaign go to: http://igg.me/at/peekretina/x/9126170
Thank you for all your continued support on this journey.
Peek Macaroons recipe:
140g egg whites
180g caster sugar
160g icing sugar
160g ground almonds
natural blue colouring
150g plain chocolate minimum 70% cocoa
70ml double cream
I found this youtube link very helpful:
The tops I just stuck a large dark chocolate button on with ganache and piped some white icing for the white cross.
‘Stiff peak’ demonstration
Piping the macaroon mixture
Checking a skin has formed on the macaroons