The 11th ORBIS – Bank of America Merrill Lynch Walk for Sight at Tai Tam Country Park attracted a bumper attendance of more than 2,700 participants, who generously raised an encouraging HK$2,000,000 for the world’s preventably blind.
Guest of honor at the event, 2010 “ORBIS Sight Star”, Ella Koon positively radiated brightness in leading the early morning crowd through their pre-walk warm up exercises. Cold temperatures and drowsiness did not seem to sap anyone’s determination to save China’s preventably blind by giving not only donations but also physical demonstrations of their compassion. “It is amazing to see the depth of local people’s support for ORBIS. Ultimately, such an ambitious sight-saving mission can only be achieved by an enormous amount of collective power. ORBIS and I are so moved to have you all join us here in Tai Tam!”, said Ella.
Before the walk began, Ella joined key representatives from ORBIS, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Hong Kong International School to plant a “Mini Sight Savior” on a giant footprint symbolizing the giant sight-saving steps walkers are enabling ORBIS to take in China. Ella went on: “As Hongkongers are blessed with easy access to professional ophthalmic medical help, none of us suffer from unnecessary blindness. Sadly, poor people in China are less fortunate. All funds raised by this year’s ORBIS – Bank of America Merrill Lynch Walk for Sight will ensure this neglected community can see again”.
This year’s walkers enjoyed a choice of bracing 6kms, 10kms and 14kms walks before joining a wonderful carnival with stage performances, games and balloon twisting, among the many booths on offer. Some of the cartoon mascots and famous animation cosplayers at the event were promptly surrounded by crowds of kids, greatly heightening the already very cheerful atmosphere.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has generously supported ORBIS’ “Walk for Sight” every year since its 2000 inauguration, not only donating money but also voluntary support. At this year’s opening ceremony, Mr. Rob Stewart, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Head of Marketing and Communications, Asia Pacific Region, presented a giant cheque for HK$500,000 to ORBIS. “As a dedicated sponsor of ‘Walk for Sight’ for the past decade, we have underlined our commitment to this worthy cause and look forward to continuing our support for a long time to come. In helping finance ORBIS’ professional sight saving initiatives, we hope to end the scourge of needless blindness in China”, he said.
Ms. Mary Lau, ORBIS Hong Kong director of development, added: “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Bank of America Merrill Lynch for its continued support these past 11 years. We also thank our sponsors, volunteers and participants for their tireless efforts. Without your participation, today would not have been nearly so joyous or meaningful. Of China’s some 6,600,000 blind people, some 80% are easily curable. All funds we have raised today will be used to help more people to see again. We will deliver on this promise by training local doctors in qualified ophthalmic medical techniques, and by enhancing their surgical skills in cataract, glaucoma and pediatric eye diseases”.