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HomeminewsAustralian Optoms Raise $150,000 for World Sight Day Challenge

Australian Optoms Raise $150,000 for World Sight Day Challenge

Australia’s optical community raised approximately AU$150,000* on World Sight Day, breaking previous WSDC fund raising records and making a significant contribution to the global $1 million target.

The funds raised will support sustainable eye care projects in under served countries and communities, providing training for optometrists and optical technicians, supporting Schools of Optometry and providing direct access to eye and vision care, particularly children’s eye health programs.

Ron Baroni, Optometry Giving Sight’s Australian Country Manager said 367 practices and 23 companies from all states and territories of Australia signed up to take the challenge, representing an impressive
15 per cent increase on 2014.

Practices that contributed to the challenge included Sure Optical on the Gold Coast, which held its third Annual Highballs for Eyeballs event, raising $5,000 in the process; Dyson and Long Optometrists, which raised over $2,100 from eye exam fees and patient fundraising; Moving Eyes – Robyn Main’s mobile optometry clinic in Western Australia – which raised over $1,200 from eye exam fees; Baker Payne and Webster Lighthouse Plaza, which was awarded the WSDC best window display and BUPA practices across Australia, which undertook their first World Sight Day Challenge.

I am thrilled that our fundraising efforts mean they and others get to enjoy that privilege

Speaking of the effort that goes into organising the now Annual Highballs for Eyeballs event, Sure Optical practice owner Amanda Rungis said, “Sometimes I feel that, in day to day working life, I can take being an optometrist for granted. On the Optometry Giving Sight website, there is a photo of some young optometry students getting ready for their Clinical Training and I find it inspiring as it reminds me of the privilege I have of being an optometrist. I am thrilled that our fundraising efforts mean they and others get to enjoy that privilege.”

As of December, General Optical was leading the company World Sight Day Challenge donating almost $15,000 raised from staff events throughout the year as well as an annual World Sight Day Challenge barbeque lunch which was open to local businesses.

Essilor’s head office donated its time to the “Eye Didn’t Know That” school screening team in Sydney – an initiative of Transitions Optical with support from Optometry Giving Sight. Essilor Laboratories across Australia raised over $5,000, including $3,000 raised by Melinda Hockey from NSW who sold wristbands.

Four Australian Schools of Optometry took on the Student Challenge with Daniel Strachan from Deakin organising a carnival with padded gladiator battles, a mechanical bucking bull, a closest to the pin golf challenge (with prism inducing glasses), and an inflatable twister board. A cupcake competition and dodgeball competition, led by Rebekah Bryant, raised funds at QUT Optometry School; while in NSW, a variety of events organised by Emma Kemp included the City2Surf fun run, BBQs and a bake stall, raising $4,000. The 43 UNSW students were aiming to raise a further $6,000 by the year end.

Thanking supporters, Mr. Baroni said money raised will “transform the life of the individual it helps and the impact it also has on their family… Each year we come together to raise urgently needed funds for a cause we hold close to our hearts and on behalf of the lives your donations will change, I just wanted to thank everyone who took the Challenge.”

By the close of 2014 Optometry Giving Sight will have provided funding to 43 programs in 27 countries, including eye care projects in East Timor, Sumba, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India, as well as more recent projects in Australia, Vietnam and Cambodia.

It’s not too late to donate. Visit givingsight.org or contact australia@givingsight.org

*The final tally will not be finalised until January 2015.

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