Ryman Healthcare has donated a ‘phenomenal’ $474,511 to the Fred Hollows Foundation eye health cause in New Zealand and unveiled Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand as its new charity partner.
Cheyne Chalmers, NZ Chief Executive of Ryman Healthcare, said it was an absolute pleasure to be part of an Anthony Wilding village-hosted charity event which reflected Ryman’s core values and helped celebrate the power of giving.
The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ helps to end avoidable blindness and vision impairment in the Pacific. Kiwi born eye surgeon Fred Hollows dedicated his life to restoring sight to the needlessly blind.
“Our annual charity partnership program holds a special place in the heart of who we are as an organization. It exemplifies our commitment to making a difference, not just in the lives of our residents but in the lives of those in need...,” Cheyne said.
“We’re at Anthony Wilding village this afternoon to present the combined donation to The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, and also to announce our next charity partner. All of the work that has gone in over the last year throughout our villages in New Zealand, with our residents and our team members, today is the culmination of that.”
The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ Chair Craig Fisher spoke about the impact of the sight restoring services and the training of eye doctors and nurses that will be enabled by the donation.
“Thank you to all of the staff and especially the residents of Ryman Healthcare and all of the villages around the country...,” Craig said.
“How we split up the world, is that The Fred Hollows Foundation in Australia looks after Africa and Asia and The Foundation in New Zealand looks after the Pacific. Over the past 20 years with our partners in the Pacific, we have now completed over 1,100,000 eye health consultations, 88,000 surgeries but the thing that makes me the proudest is that most of those have been done by people who have been from the Pacific, trained in the Pacific for the Pacific...”
“We have now trained over 350 eye health specialists in the Pacific, both eye doctors and nurses.”
Just as delighted was Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand Business Manager Annabel Lush who said the year ahead would be an exciting one. “I’m here with my colleague Anna. We are just two of the staff, throughout the country, who were overjoyed when we heard the news we are the successful recipient charity for the next 12 months...
“We also have the chance to work with you to raise the awareness about blood cancer in New Zealand, raise awareness about the symptoms which are quite difficult to diagnose until it becomes a very serious disease to have.”
Cheyne said Ryman was really looking forward to working with the Leukaemia & Blood Cancer NZ team. The fundraising efforts of Ryman’s residents, as well as the dollar-for-dollar matching by Ryman Healthcare.
Residents Ryman was aware of and followed the continued research both overseas and particularly in New Zealand regarding blood cancer treatments and research, Cheyne said in response to a question from a resident in the audience.
Annabel said there would be a continued emphasis on responding to the blood cancers. “I'd also like to do a wee bit of a shout out to our wonderful haematology researchers. We also support targeted blood cancer research.”
Some cutting edge research can be read about here:
Cheyne said the work to support such initiatives never really stopped in Ryman villages. "They’re always fundraising for our charity partners – and with a bit of healthy competition they work hard, and fast, to meet their targets,” Cheyne said.
Ryman has donated $5.5 million to charities through its annual partnership programme since 1999.
Each year New Zealand’s largest retirement village operator selects a single cause to back, with the charity voted on by residents and team members.
For each dollar raised by residents and staff Ryman Healthcare chips in another dollar, so the more the Ryman family raise, the more the company pays. Residents contribute through seen bake sales, raffles, quiz nights, and special dress up days.