A generous gift from Lions Ride for Sight community

Top row from left to right: Elaine Levine, Donor Relations Advisor; Sarah Rainbird, Head of Philanthropy and Fundraising; Ian de Bruyne, Lions Ride for Sight committee member and CERA’s Ride for Sight liaison.

Bottom row from left to right: Nina Blythe, Lions Ride for Sight Chairman; Professor Keith Martin, Managing Director; Neil Wingrave, Lions District Governor.

Last week, CERA Managing Director Professor Keith Martin was sincerely grateful to receive a cheque for $30,000 from Ride for Sight chairperson, Nina Blyth.

The 27th Lions Ride for Sight was scheduled to take place in April this year. However, sadly it was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Despite the cancellation, the recent coronavirus pandemic and bushfires did not deter the Lions’ spirit and commitment to making a difference in the quest to cure eye diseases, with many of the sponsors and riders continuing to raise funds for vision research.

“CERA is extremely grateful for the dedication of all riders, the donors and sponsors who have supported them, and the hard work of all of the volunteers from Lions District 201V3 which organises the event. Their generosity, despite recent setbacks, is sincerely appreciated and a wonderful contribution to our research,” said Professor Martin.

For over 26 years, 1300 riders have collectively pedalled more than 40,000 kilometres within the 201V3 Lions District to raise more than $1 million to support our research to find new treatments to save sight and prevent vision loss.

CERA researcher Dr Elaine Chong has participated in three rides and was the beneficiary of last year’s Lions Ride for Sight gift.

Dr Chong is currently developing a new treatment for corneal disease, as an alternative to a corneal transplant. Dr Chong’s study is investigating whether removing just the innermost layer of the cornea – the clear window at the front of the eye – in a particular type of corneal disease called Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy can improve vision, without resorting to a full corneal transplant.

“I was thrilled to receive this donation from the Lions for my research,” said Dr Chong. “I know many of the riders and volunteers told me they have been personally touched by the hardships associated with eye disease, either directly or within their families and friendship circles. I am hopeful my work will one day benefit all those suffering with vision loss.”

We would also like to make a special mention of our friend and long-time Lions volunteer, Nina Blythe. After 18 years assisting in the coordination of the ride, Nina’s three-year term as Committee Chair comes to an end – she will be stepping down from her role at the end of the month. We wish Nina all the best as she takes a well-earned break. We know everyone is going to miss her energy, enthusiasm and legendary cooking skills! Thank you and good luck Nina.

Finally, thank you again to everyone involved in the Ride for Sight for coordinating and participating in such a major event. Hopefully the 27th Lions Ride for Sight will be able to take place next year!

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