A dedicated optician competed in the 2017 Great Ethiopian Run in aid of Vision Aid Overseas (VAO), raising vital funds for people in developing countries.

Damien Rose at Specsavers Leith joined 44,000 other runners – including 22 colleagues from Specsavers – in Addis Ababa for the world’s highest altitude 10,000m road race.

The event was started in 2001 by former athlete and current president of the athletics federation, Haile Gebreselassie.

Vital funds

Damien raised £2,600 with the help of store staff, friends, family and generous customers, and the team – who are still collecting donations - hope they can raise £57,000 collectively.

The team flew from London to Addis Ababa on 22 November, allowing time to acclimatise, soak up some of the colour of Ethiopia and see some of VAO’s work first-hand.

Great experience

Damien said: ‘The Great Ethiopian Run was a fantastic experience. It was great fun to participate with the team from Specsavers and the money we all raised, and are still raising, will help VAO to change the lives of some of the world’s most marginalised people through the provision of good sight.’

About Vision Aid Overseas

VAO has been Specsavers’ international eyecare charity since 2008. The group has raised over £600,000 for Zambian eyecare including an optometry technologists training course at the Chainama College of Health Sciences in Lusaka, ten staffed vision centres across Zambia and a national eyecare outreach programme.

As well as direct donations and fundraising in stores, Specsavers customers can responsibly dispose of unwanted glasses to any Specsavers store. VAO then recycles these frames and monies are raised from the sale of precious metals.

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