Former Dubbo resident and Golden Guitar winner Drew McAlister is on a mission to raise awareness through his music and own family story about the little known retinitis pigmentosa, a rare and incurable disease.
Drew’s brother Kurt is suffers from the disease where he only has 18 per cent of his peripheral vision left.
According to Vision Australia RP is a genetic eye condition that causes cells in the light-sensitive retina, located at the back of the eye, to degenerate slowly and progressively. The condition can vary greatly and while many people with RP retain limited vision throughout their lives, others will lose their sight completely.
Currently residing in the Blue Mountains, Drew said his brother was dealing with the condition “really well.”
“He recently got a cane , which changed everything.. it opened up a whole new world for him,” the former South Dubbo High boy said.
“But he’s lucky in a sense because his PR has been a slow progression.”
Drew wants to share some key signs of what to look out for when you think something might be wrong with your sight and how to cope with the frustrations associated with this.
Drew said with not much known about RP, so he wanted to to raise awareness about the disease.
“It’s one of those diseases that doesn’t get a lot of media attention. No-one famous has it that I know of, but it’s debilitating,” he said.
“And if I can talk about it and point it out then that’s a good thing.”
Drew’s newest album ‘Coming Your Way’ follows up his second solo outing and ABC music debut Black Sky and the number one country album with his country superstar mates for Adam Brand and the Outlaws, who toured Dubbo in 2016.
From 2007 to 2014, Drew was at the top of the country charts as one half of McAlister Kemp.
The country boy duo took the Australian country music scene by storm, playing at CMA Music Festival in Nashville and opened for the legendary Alan Jackson on his sold out Australian tour.
Together McAlister Kemp won a Golden Guitar and were nominated for an ARIA for Best Country album and CMC Oz Artist of the Year.