Ride for sight

MORE than 50 riders cycled through the hills of Gippsland recently and raised $50,000 towards preventable blindness.

The Moe Lions Club hosted the cyclists and support crew during the 19th annual district Lions Ride for Sight event as they rode for four days from Bruthen to Moe.

Riders of all levels joined the noncompetitive ride which raised funds for eye research and spread awareness about preventable blindness.

Moe Lions Club president John Kerr said riders and the support crew paid a registration fee and raised more than $300 each in sponsorship.

Mr Kerr said the fun four-day event received corporate sponsorship which offset the cost of the ride and maximised donations towards eye research projects.

Sight-impaired Brian Bailey said he enjoyed the tour through Gippsland with cyclict Jim Allen.

With 1.4 million members in clubs across 193 countries, Lions Club International has a worldiwde mission to “eradicate or cure” preventable blindness.

Now in its 19th year, Ride for Sight has raised about $700,000 for eye research.

Last year the ride raised $42,000, of which $40,000 was donated to the Centre for Eye Research Australia and $2000 to Vision Australia, Warragul.

Lions District Governor Ken Blay said most vision loss was preventable if detected early.

“An estimated 300,000 Australians have glaucoma but half of them don’t know they have it,” Mr Blay said.

“People with diabetes are at risk of vision loss and although laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy is effective, it cannot restore lost vision.”

He said about 1700 corneal transplants were performed each year.

During the cycle event, Trafalgar Lioness Club president Marg Godwin and Lions Club president Alan Smith presented cheques for $2350 to the Ride for Sight chairman David Koschade.

Mr Koschade thanked clubs for their continued support over the 19 years of the ride.