Ride for Sight on track at Phillip Island

Three South Gippsland sisters have helped launch a charity bike ride in Gippsland that will support CERA’s work to end vision loss.


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Lions Ride for Sight is one of CERA’s longest-running fundraising events, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this month and is supported by Lions Clubs across Gippsland.

The first Lions Ride for Sight went from Mallacoota to Melbourne in 1994. This year’s ride is shorter, but no less significant.

Riders will gather in Moe on Friday March 22 and will cycle to Cowwarr, between Traralgon and Heyfield, and return on March 23 and 24 – about 170km.

Sisters Sharon Oates, Leesa Willmott and Kerry Fitzgerald, known in the Lions Ride for Sight fraternity simply as Team Sisters, raised more than $30,000 in last year’s ride – the most collected by a single team.

They will cycle in both the Ride for Sight and the Ride with a Difference, where riders nominate the distance they intend to ride during March and raise money for the kilometres they cover.

Team Sisters have set a lofty target of more than 600km.

They got off to a great start on Friday, March 1 with a lap of the Phillip Island grand prix circuit as part of the first 100km for the Ride with a Difference.

Inverloch businesswoman Sharon Oates says the ride has special meaning for her family.

“It’s very important to my family because our parents and three of our sisters all have macular degeneration. They’re all in the early stages of it. Dad is legally blind and Mum has a wet macula. She has injections in her eye every six weeks.

“To be able to raise money to give to the likes of CERA to do amazing research and develop new treatments is just incredible and it makes me really proud to be a part of the Ride.”

CERA Donor Relations Lead Bronwyn Sugden says CERA is grateful for the enduring support of the Gippsland community over the past 30 years.

“The funding we receive and the donations from the Lions Ride for Sight is absolutely integral for our research to continue.

“They have been partnering and supporting our researchers for the past 30 years, and it’s absolutely vital for us to continue that.”

Supporting CERA: Lions Ride for Sight Chair Paul Drinkwater with CERA Donor Relations Lead Bron Sugden.
Call for support

Lions Ride for Sight Chair Paul Drinkwater, from the Lions Club of Moe, says he stepped up to run this year’s event for family reasons.

“It’s a privilege to participate in raising funds for very worthwhile eye research. That’s why I took the chairman’s role on.

“My mum has glaucoma. She has totally lost her sight, and I just desperately want to find a cure.

“It’s very important not only for people like my mum. The Centre for Eye Research does such amazing work.”

Mr Drinkwater says preparations are on track but is asking for a few more volunteers to lend a hand.

“Particularly, we’re after marshals to direct the riders safely, and we’re also after a first aid person with first aid qualifications.”

There are two ways to support the Lions Ride for Sight.

The first way is participating in the Ride for Sight from March 22 to 24 with a $70 entry fee and raising a minimum of $400 in sponsorship.

The second option is entering the Ride with a Difference, where riders pay $30 to enter and nominate the distance they aim to ride during March to raise a minimum of $250 in sponsorship.

Riders will meet at the Moe Community Groups Hub at 4pm on Friday, 22 March, enjoy a group dinner at participants’ cost and an after-dinner presentation from a CERA representative on CERA’s work.

They ride for Cowwarr on Saturday morning and return Sunday afternoon. Lions Clubs from Moe, Heyfield and Latrobe Wellington (Toongabbie) provide all other meals, with other clubs and volunteers assisting.

To join the Ride for Sight or Ride with a Difference, or to volunteer for the riders, find out more on the event’s Raisley page.


For Ride for Sight enquiries, email Paul Drinkwater at paul.drinkwater@aussiebroadband.com.au or call 0450 260 679.

For media enquiries, contact Jamie Duncan on 0417 377 617.

Join the Ride

Contribute to raising funds for research to achieve the goal of a world-free from vision loss and blindness.

Donate to support those doing the ride or sign up to participate yourself.

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