The second annual Fred Hollows Ride to Bourke to raise money for vital sight-restoration surgery has been moved from the hot Australia Day weekend in 2017 to the much milder Anzac Day weekend in 2018.
Organisers, Mike and Denise Ferris from World on Wheels (WOW) motorcycle travel company said the inaugural ride attracted 30 riders and pillions and raised $13,165.
The money goes to the Fred Hollows Foundation which raises funds for 20-minute sight-restoring operations that cost as little as $25 each.
Riders are invited to register for $25 each, set off from anywhere in Australia and meet up on April 22 with the other riders in Bourke, the final resting place of Fred Hollows.
The Kiwi/Aussie ophthalmologist worked tirelessly to restore the sight of people, mainly in poorer, isolated communities around the world.
He died in 1993 but his work continues today through the Fred Hollows Foundation.
Denise says half of the funds raised through the Ride to Bourke go towards helping indigenous Australians and the other half goes towards overseas work.
“The inaugural ride was a great success, thoroughly enjoyed by all who braved the rain, the cold and the heat to ride to Bourke and back,” Denise says.
The ride includes a visit to Fred Hollows rock which is nine tonnes of specially sculpted granite carved as Fred’s tombstone in the local Bourke cemetery.
Incentive prizes will again be provided by sponsors including another $100 gift voucher for the new Motorbike Writer online shop.
WOW conduct nine motorcycle tours a year on four continents, often in countries where people do not have access to advanced medical services.
“So for such a small amount of money, to be able to support a simple, short sight-restoring operation and give the gift of sight to some is just – WOW! – life changing for them and also for their families and the communities in which they live,” Denise says.
“In many remote villages and places this means the person whose sight is restored can then be a full participant socially and economically which can take them from being dependent on their family for support to being a contributing member.”