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    A Christmas filled with music

    Losing vision didn't stop the music.

    Cliff violin

    As 102-year-old Cliff lost his vision through age-related macular degeneration (AMD), he also lost other things he treasured – his driver’s licence, his independence and his ability to read his beloved music. 

    But that won’t stop him planning a Christmas filled with the sound of the violin. He can’t see the sheet music but more than 90 years after being gifted his violin, he has an astonishing repertoire of music he can play from memory.  

    Cliff’s son, Daryl, knows that his sight is also at risk. For people like Daryl, having a parent with AMD means a one in two chance of developing the disease.  Macular Disease Foundation Australia is funding sight-saving research into AMD, with the aim of finding treatments and – one day – a cure 

    “About 20 years ago, Dad’s eyesight became problematic.

    He tried to hide it and pretend everything was alright.

    “But eventually he was diagnosed with AMD. “From then, his eyesight just slowly got worse. I had to tell him he needed to stop driving. He was quite upset about that, because it took away so much of his independence. 

    “Dad’s had a very full and interesting life. He was a baker by trade, but also sat on the board of a hospital and was Chairman of the Board of Kaleeya Hospital here in WA. He travelled all over the world, played golf, and, of course, music has always been one of his great loves. He’s played the violin since he was a boy.” 

    Editor’s note

    MDFA was saddened to learn of the passing of Cliff Sexton – The Baker and His Violin. Cliff was an inspirational member of the macular disease community. Despite losing his sight to age-related macular degeneration, Cliff continued to play his beloved violin.

    In December 2018, at the age of 102, Cliff generously allowed us to share his story. In the process, he raised much needed funds to benefit both MDFA support services as well as research projects to find cures and treatments for macular disease. What an amazing legacy.

    Our condolences to Cliff’s son Daryl, and the rest of Cliff’s family and friends.

    Posted: December 2018, updated November 2020

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