WOW owners Denise and Mike Ferris hope to attract at least 100 riders and raise $50,000 for the Australia Day Weekend Ride to Restore Sight.
The Fred Hollows Foundation raises money for 20-minute sight-restoring operations that cost as little as $25 each.
“The intention is for this national ride to be an annual event,” says Denise.
“We have chosen to collaborate with Fred Hollows because of the wonderful work they do here in Australia and globally. There is a good values fit between our two organisations.
“Most of all we get the value of our eyes and being able to see the wonders of the world.
“Gosh, we all would just not be able to ride without our eyes, let alone take in the magic and wonders of the world we travel in.”
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.”
WOW is challenging riders to participate in the Australia Day ride from their hometown to Bourke in north-west NSW as individuals, families or groups.
Already former WOW ride groups and individuals have registered their intention to participate.
The “finish line” is the Port of Bourke Hotel, on Friday night, January 27, where as is customary, dinner will be on Denise and Mike. They have also negotiated special accommodation rates for participants.
Riders will visit a Foundation eye care clinic and the final resting place of Fred Hollows who died in 1993 after having restored the sight of an estimated one million people worldwide.
There’s no entry fee, but riders are requested to raise money for the Foundation.
Sponsors have donated various fundraising motivational prizes for riders including a $100 voucher for the new Motorbike Writer online shop.