British Columbia Pulls Together for Children's Eyesight

Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:00pm EDT

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British Columbia Pulls Together for Children's Eyesight

YVR Orbis Plane Pull for Sight Event Raises More Than $20,000

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - June 22, 2014) - The fifth annual Plane Pull for Sight event in support of Orbis Canada took place today at the FedEx Express Canada apron at Vancouver International Airport, raising more than $20,000 in support of the Orbis Kids Sight program aimed at eliminating childhood blindness throughout the developing world.

Since 2010, residents of British Columbia have contributed close to $100,000. These generous contributions have resulted in sight-restorative surgeries and/or corrective care for over 300 children afflicted with eye disease. All children who benefited from this sponsorship also received thorough follow-up care following surgery. 

The Orbis Plane Pull for Sight is a unique fundraising event that showcases teamwork and strength as teams made up of 25 people compete to pull a 60-tonne 757 FedEx cargo plane 12 feet. The event was open for registration to companies, organizations, groups, associations and individual participants age 14 and up. Each team was required to raise a minimum of $1,250 (or $50 per person) to compete in the pull.

In total, 12 teams participated in the event with close to 1,000 people in attendance. Prizes were awarded for the "Fastest Pull", "Top Individual Fundraiser", "Top Team Fundraisers", and "Most Enthusiastic Team".

Since 2009, the Orbis Plane Pull for Sight campaign has raised more than $400,000 in Canada for Orbis, the sight-saving charity which does invaluable work amongst populations affected by preventable blindness.

Beyond participating in the event and raising money for Orbis, other British Columbians have been directly involved with Orbis in translating the contributions raised into restoring children's eyesight around the world. This includes Dr. Simon Holland, a clinical professor at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Holland has been directly involved in missions to China, Libya, and Syria. 

"In the 30 years that I have been involved with Orbis, the greatest pleasure for me is seeing hope light up on patients' faces when they first regain eyesight," said Dr. Simon Holland. "The people of British Columbia can be proud in helping to create hope where no one is needlessly blind, and where quality eye care, treatment, and eye care education can be readily available."

Orbis' missions around the world begin and end with the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital, a DC-10 aircraft donated to Orbis by FedEx. The plane is equipped with a teaching facility and ophthalmic surgery center. Volunteer pilots from FedEx fly the plane to remote locations across the globe, where medical teams perform surgeries, conduct training sessions, and educate communities about blindness prevention and treatment. Since the Flying Eye Hospital took flight in 1982, more than 6.8 million people worldwide have been treated; 360,000 surgeries have been completed; and 195,000 eye care professionals have been trained aboard the hospital.

FedEx also supports the plane's maintenance (making it possible for Orbis to operate the current Flying Eye Hospital at nominal expense) and also provides complimentary transportation for critically needed medical supplies headed to Orbis-hospital-based programs around the world.

"It is only natural for FedEx to commit our unparalleled networks, dedicated team members, and vast aviation expertise to assist Orbis in delivering the gift of sight to countless individuals throughout the developing world," said Lisa Lisson, president of FedEx Express Canada. "I am very proud of all our wonderful FedEx participants and volunteers -- from FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight and FedEx Office -- who continue to rally behind this cause and make these plane-pull events so successful."

A FedEx Boeing 757 was the centerpiece of the Plane Pull for Sight in Vancouver as well as in Toronto at a similar event at Pearson International Airport on June 1, 2014.

"To see a child's face when they first regain eyesight is an extremely heartwarming and gratifying experience. It is through the support of numerous individuals and corporate donors such as those in the Vancouver area that make such life-changing opportunities possible," said Jenny Hourihan, CEO of Orbis International.

For more information visit www.pullforsight.ca

About Orbis Canada
Orbis Canada is an affiliate of Orbis International, a global nonprofit, humanitarian organization dedicated to saving sight worldwide. Orbis prevents and treats blindness through hands-on training, public health education, improved access to quality eye care, advocacy and partnerships with local health care organizations. By building long-term capabilities, Orbis helps its partner institutions take action to reach a state where they can provide, on their own, quality eye care services that are affordable, accessible, and sustainable. To learn more about Orbis Canada, please visit www.orbiscanada.ca.

About FedEx Corp.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $46 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 300,000 team members to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit http://news.van.fedex.com/intl/ca.

Orbis and FedEx -- Delivering Sight Worldwide
FedEx has supported Orbis for 30 years, providing millions of dollars of cash and in-kind contributions. In 2011, FedEx renewed a USD $5.5 million, five-year commitment made to Orbis in 2006. It includes the extension of the FedEx Fellows Program that provides an opportunity for local, talented doctors to receive the continuing medical education needed to address leading causes of avoidable blindness within their country.

Orbis benefits from the unparalleled FedEx global network and aviation expertise to help the Flying Eye Hospital take flight. FedEx Express pilots volunteer to fly the Orbis DC-10 to many of its medical programs and train other volunteer pilots. FedEx Express mechanics provide maintenance support, and FedEx Express team members around the world volunteer as part of the Orbis humanitarian team as interpreters, welcoming and escorting patients to and from their surgeries, and assisting with patient screenings. FedEx also provides complimentary transportation services to move critically needed medical supplies to Orbis clinics and programs worldwide, makes the FedEx Express flight training simulator available to train volunteer pilots, and manages the cost and performance of the annual safety checks for the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital.

Contacts:

Caroline Huang
Director of Development
Orbis Canada
Phone: 416-413-9730
Email: caroline.huang@orbis.org

James Anderson
Senior Communications Specialist
FedEx Express Canada
Phone: 905-212-5372
Email: jcanderson@fedex.com

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