Earlier this April Jim Pollard, Electrical Engineer working for the ANU Facilities and Services started his journey from Ceduna, South Australia to Canberra, ACT. But Jim’s journey was not just an early autumn holiday trip from southern Australia back to his home in Canberra. It was a cycling trip of more than 2,300 km in just over three weeks with the heart-warming intentions of raising money for the Fred Hollows Foundation. And as if that was not enough, Jim has made a commitment to match every donation he receives up to his personal limit of $2500. Hence, the fundraising is called ‘Eye for an Eye’.
“Most Australians would know about Fred Hollows who pioneered eye surgery where his team has returned vision to thousands of people around the world. I wanted to pay contribution to that, I wanted to continue his legacy.” – Jim says proudly.
Many people stay needlessly blind because they live in poverty. In developing countries, blindness denies people education, independence and the ability to work – things which can break the poverty cycle. According to the Fred Hollows Foundation, in some developing countries, $25 is all it takes to do cataract treatment and restore someone’s sight.
“A parent can support a family, a child can go to school, a mother can see her children.” – says Jim, explaining the reasons behind the fundraising trip. So simple yet so true.
Ceduna to Canberra road trip
The road trip started in a small town in South Australia called Ceduna, the same place where Jim’s previous journey has finished. Namely, his intention was to do the bike ride from west to east Australia. Perth to Ceduna trip was finished last year while his Canberra – Sydney (and back) was done a while ago as his first long-distance bike ride. The last leg of this trip was Ceduna to Canberra, this time as a fund raiser.
“All the trips have been incredible journeys and I have met some wonderful people along the way that I wouldn’t have otherwise met. It has been a real adventure.
Some days were harder and some easier, and Jim is grateful to be healthy and fit enough to take off on two wheels for such a long trip. “The longest ride in one day on this trip was 160km which started at Wagga Wagga and included the hilly ride from Gundagai. With 14 hours in the saddle I can’t say it was a good day but I have recovered.”
Memorable and unexpected meeting
Meeting great people and seeing unforgettable places you cannot see from a car are something that will always be a part of the fond memories made on these journeys. But at the same time being able to help people in need is something that made this trip so worthwhile, explained Pollard.
“As I was leaving Hay, I asked a lady for directions and she wanted to know what I was doing. When I told her about the Fred Hollows fundraising she stopped me in my tracks. She has just had a cataract operation. Previously she was legally blind! She dragged me into the RSL club and bought me lunch and introduced me to her large family. How good is that?”
After being away for 24 days, Jim came back to Canberra to see that his fundraising has reached more than $10,000. Most of the donations come from his family, friends, colleagues, and sponsors, and some from word of mouth. Fundraising is still open and donations are welcome through his page on mycause.com.au.