The streets of Sylvan Lake were home to 33 cyclists taking part in the second annual Cycle For Sight on Saturday morning.
Hosted by The Foundation Fighting Blindness, Cycle For Sight events are hosted across the country in locations including Sylvan Lake, Ottawa, Toronto and along the West Coast. The Foundation lists their vision as being able ‘torestore hope and sight’ with their mission set at leading the fight against blindness by advancing retinal disease research, education and public awareness.
This past weekend’s local event saw over $40,000 being raised to support vision loss. April Watts, national event manager for Cycle For Sight and The Foundation Fighting Blindness, explained funds raised from the Alberta event alongwith a portion of the proceeds from the other Cycle For Sight events goes back int the province for research being conducted at both the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary by Dr. Ian McDonald.
“The Foundation funds quite a bit of research in Alberta,” explained Watts. “There are currently clinical trials for an eye disease called Choroideremia happening at the University of Alberta and depending on the success of these trialsit could lead to the treatment of various other retinal eye diseases as well.”
Although in their second year of the event taking place in Alberta, this was the first time Cycle For Sight has taken place in Sylvan Lake with last year’s event taking place in Okotoks. Organizers say they were looking for a location thatwas central to Edmonton and Calgary to make the event more accessible to all Albertans. What organizers referred to as a ‘picturesque route’ was also a deciding factor in bringing the race to Sylvan Lake.
“This is my ninth Cycle For Sight I’ve put on and this time around in Sylvan Lake people were very excited about the venue and were looking forward to being there,” said Watts. “Sylvan Lake is definitely the nicest venue we’ve everhad. It’s just such a wonderful, beautiful town and being there right by the water was spectacular.”
Watts added the support of the local Lions Club also meant a great deal to the event.
“Lions Clubs support us with our events across Canada,” she explained. “They have been huge helps at all of our locations and have already committed to helping us out next year.”
“The Lions Club has been supporting vision loss since the days of Helen Keller. It’s a really important partnership for both us and the clubs as having that local support makes it easier to put on the event and have it be moresuccessful.”
The local Lions Club was commended for their support at the finish line where they hosted a barbecue for participants of the event.