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Lions Ride for Sight raises $60,000 for vision-saving research

Fifty riders who pedalled more than 350 kilometres in picturesque East Gippsland earlier this year have raised $60,000 to support the Centre for Eye Research Australia’s sight-saving work.

Over 26 years, 1300 riders have collectively pedalled more than 40,000 kilometres within the 201V3 Lions District to raise more than $1.2 million to support our research to find new treatments to save sight and prevent vision loss and blindness.

Ride for Sight Chair Nina Blyth and District Governor Peter Payne presented a cheque for $60,000 from the 2019 event to CERA’s Chief Operating Officer Leah Borsboom and macular researcher Kai Lyn Goh at the Lions District 201V3 District Convention in Rosebud West on Saturday.

Ms Blyth said the Ride for Sight exemplified the volunteer spirit and commitment to making a difference of Lions Club members in District 201V3.

Lions Club members Ian de Bruyne, Peter Payne and Nina Blyth holding a racing jersey and poster featuring ride highlights pictured with researchers Kai Lyn Goh and Chief Operating Officer Leah Borsboom.

Fundraising success: Lions Club members (from left) Ian de Bruyne, Peter Payne and Nina Blyth with CERA’s Kai Lyn Goh and Leah Borsboom.

The annual event depends on Lions volunteers from clubs extending from Phillip Island to Mornington Peninsula and  Mallacoota who  organise overnight accommodation and meals, and supply much needed lunches, snacks and hydration to riders and volunteers.

Accepting the donation, Ms Borsboom praised local Lions Club members and riders who took part in the event for their outstanding commitment to supporting eye research.

“The Centre for Eye Research Australia is extremely grateful for the dedication from Lions club volunteers across Gippsland and Mornington Peninsula who have poured so much time and energy into organising the Ride for Sight for more than a quarter of a century,’’ she said.

“We are also incredibly appreciative of the great endurance and commitment shown by many riders who put themselves through their paces to raise money for our research. The funds raised by Ride for Sight make a real difference and contribute to our ability to conduct world-leading research.’’

To keep Lions members up to date with the latest in CERA’s research, Ms Goh, who coordinates age-related macular degeneration trials at CERA, outlined some of our research to find new treatments for the ageing eye disease which affects 1 in 7 Australians over 50.

In 2019, 50 riders together with 18 helpers and marshals took part in the Ride for Sight – travelling on a demanding course from Orbost to Sale which took in Marlo, Buchan, Bruthen, Wy Yung, Lindenow, Fernbank, Briagolong, Stratford, Maffra and Heyfield.

Riders included Warragul Lions stalwart Ian de Bruyne, who has taken part in all 26 rides since the event’s inception in 1994, along with his friend Mark Sage from Darnum.

“Lions clubs have held a long commitment to raising funds for eye research since Helen Keller’s challenge to clubs in 1925 at its International Convention in Cedar Point Ohio to become ‘Knights of the Blind’,’’ Ian said. “Over 26 years it has been a great experience to challenge myself along with many others through the Ride for Sight and raise funds for important research because eye disease affects so many Australians.’’

Media contact:
Janine Sim-Jones
Centre for Eye Research Australia

j.simjones@unimelb.edu.au
Tel: +61 3 9929 8166


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