Celebrating 30 years of world-leading research into treatments and cures for blindness, we were delighted to host our annual Sporting Dinner and Awards Night on Saturday 9th February 2013 at the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin.
Introduced by RTE’s Shay Byrne, the glittering event saw rugby and racing stars turn out in force to show support and celebrate one of the most anticipated weekends in Ireland’s sporting calendar as both the Hennessy Gold Cup and Ireland’s Six Nations Rugby Championship got underway.
Top jockey’s David Casey and Paul Carberry and well known horse trainer Edward O’Grady shared accounts of the day’s racing at Leopardstown while rugby commentators Fred Cogley, Gerry Thornley and former rugby legend Hugo MacNeill were on hand to give their predictions for Ireland’s clash with England the following day.
In addition to raising a staggering €40,000 on the night, the charity honoured four very special teams from Ireland and the US for their outstanding work to Cure, Support and Empower the 224,000 adults and children living with sight loss in Ireland.
The first award of the evening was presented to the team of researchers from the Smurfit Institute, Trinity College Dublin; Professor Pete Humphries, Professor Jane Farrar and Dr. Paul Kenna, who have worked to ‘Cure’ eye conditions causing sight loss over the last 30 years.
The award for ‘Support’ was presented to Foundation Fighting Blindness (USA) for the initial seed fund contribution of $500,000 (€370,000) in 1985 which enabled the Trinity College Dublin team to begin their research.
The award for ‘Empowerment’ was presented to members Paddy Byrne, John Delany, and head of counseling at Fighting Blindness, Mary Lavelle who spearheaded a car draw initiative in 1985 that raised a phenomenal IR£110,000.
The ‘Gala Award’ of the evening was presented to horse trainer Edward O’Grady, who initially developed the idea of this fundraising event and has championed it over the past decade. Over the course of these sporting events, it is estimated that more than €1million has been raised to continue research projects.
Other guests and friends of the charity in attendance included Tamarisk “Tamso” Doyle Cox, head of PR for Horse Racing Ireland and well known racing trainers James Nash and Conor O’Dwyer. Model Jenny Lee Masterson also added a touch of glamour to the evening.
The event aims to raise approximately €40,000 each year to help Fighting Blindness fund crucial and groundbreaking research projects to find cures and treatments for conditions causing sight loss.
We are so grateful to all who came and supported this very special night. Many thanks to all!