Cyclists committed to raising funds for retinal disease research, education and public awareness rode along loops around and through Sylvan Lake Sept. 9. This is the third annual fundraiser for The Foundation Fighting Blindness and the second year the ride was held at Sylvan Lake.
According to the foundation’s website, over 1 million Canadians are currently living with blinding retinal eye diseases. At the moment the foundation is funding 23 new and ongoing studies across Canada. The foundation has invested more than $3.6 million into universities and hospitals across the province.
Dr. Sarah McFarlane is at the University of Calgary and is doing discovery research on important things like how the eye works and why eye diseases happen. She’s currently engineering new tools that will help to uncover information to guide the development of safe and effective stem cell therapies.
Dr. Ian MacDonald is a leader in gene therapy and is currently working at the University of Alberta to do more clinical work and test experimental trials.He and his team are have been paving the way for gene therapies in general, but he’s recently pioneered Canada’s first ocular gene therapy trial.
Starting and finishing at the Sylvan Lake and District Lions Club, riders had the choice of a ten, thirty or sixty kilometre picturesque ride. The longer rides followed south on Highway 781, west on Highway 11, east on Township Road 390 and back south to Sylvan Lake on 781 with riders taking the loop twice for the sixty km ride. Riders on the ten km route took 60 Street north off Highway 11 and looped back down on 781.
The goal for each individual rider is to raise a minimum of $400 with the foundation providing each person a personal webpage, making online fundraising easy.
Since Cycle for Sight began in 2009, it has grown nationally with five events happening across the country in 2017. Riders, donors and sponsors have now raised more than $4 million.
National Event Manager, April Watts expressed gratitude for local businesses and organizations supporting the event,” The Lions have been supporting Cycle for Sight across the country for years and have been invaluable to the success of the event. We’ve also had lots of other community support this year, with Steam Whistle Brewing donating beer and Sobey’s Sylvan Lake as well as Scott’s No Frills also contributing to our Finish Line BBQ.”