NEWS AND EVENTS


December 2017 morning tea 

Our final morning tea for 2017 will be at 10.30am to 12.00pm on Tuesday 5 December, 2017 in the Jenny Florence Room on the third floor at Ross House. This month we are delighted to be able to welcome Councillor Tessa Sullivan, who is the Chair of the City of Melbourne Disability Advisory Committee, and Mr Peter Whelan, the MetroAccess Project Officer, Social Investment with the City of Melbourne.   Mr Whelan also recently attended our board meeting to meet the board, so we will be pleased to see him for a return visit. The morning tea visit will be part of The City of Melbourne's activities for the International Day of People with Disability.    

The City of Melbourne has supported Retina Australia (Vic) Inc during 2017 with a Community Grant of $3,000.  We encourage members to take this opportunity not only to celebrate the festive season but also to meet the Council representatives and thank them for the City of Melbourne's support.  

Remember, the office is less than 5 minutes’ walk from Flinders Street station, and close to most city trams. Call us with any questions on (03) 9650 5088, or leave a message, even the day before, if you know you are coming.

Annual General Meeting 2017

A large number of members enjoyed our Annual General Meeting and afternoon tea on Saturday afternoon 15 September 2017 at Ross House.

This year our Guest Speaker was Dr Thomas Edwards, a Vitreoretinal Fellow at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and an Honorary Clinical Academic Fellow, Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology, University of Oxford.  Tom has a specific interest in retinitis pigmentosa and he gave an engaging presentation focussing on challenging aspects of gene therapy research.

At the meeting, Rosalie O'Neill was recognised with an award for convening a Gippsland area social group called VIPac, and a life membership was awarded to Mary-Anne Carmody, a board member, for her many years of service to Retina Australia (Vic) Inc.  

There was also an election of office-bearers at the meeting. All existing members of the board were willing to remain on the board for another term, and we welcomed to the board Mr Amir Ansari, who has an extensive background in IT, particularly in the area of user experience. He adds to the existing expertise on the board which includes members with government, education, legal, telecommunications and design expertise. 

Entertainment Book 2017-2018

Sales have now opened of the 2017 Entertainment Book, and early birds who order the book before Monday 27 March 2017 receive additional offers. This very worthwhile purchase gives you access to thousands of offers from venues and online sites in Melbourne and Australia. Twenty percent of the purchase price of each book is donated back to us, so please support us while you are making savings for yourself. In addition to purchasing the Melbourne book, remember that you can purchase any of the books for Australia and we will benefit from the purchase. For details, see: Entertainment Book 2017-2018 orders


ShareGift Australia

Readers might be interested to know that it is possible to donate shares to charity. ShareGift Australia can arrange for the sale of your shares, and you can recommend that the proceeds of sale be donated to Retina Australia (Vic) Inc. It's an easy way to sell shares and you receive a tax deduction for the donation. The details are at ShareGift Australia. If you would like to recommend that the proceeds of sale go to Retina Australia (Vic) Inc, simply fill out the details of the shares you would like to donate, insert "Retina Australia (Vic) Inc" as the recommended charity, and ShareGift Australia will do the rest.

 

Workplace giving update

A couple of weeks ago we were delighted to receive a donation from Telstra matching the donations made by its employees through Good2Give. This means that because of the generosity and thoughtfulness of our Telstra donors, we have received double the amount they gave to us through their workplace giving program. Thank you Telstra, and your generous employees! You can be sure we will put the funds to good use in our ongoing fight to treat and cure inherited retinal diseases.

If you would like to know more about how to donate or how to implement payroll giving at your organisation, please click on the link below. If your employer is already registered with Good2Give, please consider selecting us as your chosen charity (Retina Australia (Vic) Inc, ABN: 37 928 390 056).

Find out more about workplace giving with Good2Give

 

Workplace giving

We registered with Good2Give, a workplace giving provider, in January 2016 and have already started to receive regular contributions from employees at organisations including Telstra, GM Holden and NAB. Many of Australia's leading companies have implemented payroll giving through Good2Give. In the financial sector, these include MLC, JB Were, Citibank, GIO, BT Finance Group, Bank of Queensland, Deutsche Bank, Bank SA, Bank of Melbourne, AAMI, Westpac, Suncorp and St George. In the industrial sector, major participants are GMH, Shell, Toyota, Sydney Water, Aurizon and Stockland. Other employers participating include major retailers, law firms, health insurance providers and telephone companies.

These contributions make a real and tangible difference to the medical research we support. If you would like to know more about how to donate or how to implement payroll giving at your organisation, please click on the link below. If your employer is already registered with Good2Give, please consider selecting us as your chosen charity (Retina Australia (Vic) Inc, ABN: 37 928 390 056).

Find out more about workplace giving with Good2Give

 

Spring 2016 Achiever

The Spring 2016 Achiever newsletter is out, with news of how the Retina International Congress in Taiwan was a success despite the typhoon, other research news and personal stories, including those of our paralympians. Please call our office on (03) 9650 5088 if you would like to receive the newsletter in an alternative format.

For the newsletter in pdf, click the following link: Achiever Newsletter September 2016 in pdf format


Annual General Meeting 2016

Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday afternoon 10 September 2016 commencing at 1:30pm in the Hayden Raysmith Meeting Room 4th Floor Ross House, 247-251 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

This year our Guest Speaker will be Ms Lisa Kearns. Lisa is a genetic counsellor and orthoptist who divides her time between the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. Lisa will bring us up to date with her work in the team investigating the Translation of Genetic Eye Research and speak about the amazing research being undertaken by her colleagues at CERA. There will be ample opportunities to ask questions.

Afternoon tea will be provided. Please let us know on (03) 9650 5088 as soon as possible if you will be attending the meeting aso that we can organise seating and arrange adequate catering. We look forward to seeing as many of our members as possible.

There will also be an election of office-bearers at the meeting. If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else to the board as an office bearer or general member, please call the office for a nomination form. All nominees, and nominators, must be financial members of Retina Australia (Vic) Inc. If you wish to discuss nomination please do not hesitate to contact Leighton Boyd on 0417 566 899 or (03) 9434 3832.

 

Solstice for Sight Annual Appeal 2016

As we approach the shortest day and longest night of the year, the winter solstice, we ask you to once again think of those with declining sight and help to continue to progress research by making a donation to our research fund. Past donations to this fund have brought about significant research breakthroughs, and helped maintain the momentum of Australian research into inherited retinal diseases.

If you are able to and wish to contribute to our ongoing research, we thank you. You can donate using the secure engine of GiveNow using the following link: Give Now or alternatively, click the following link to download a donation form 2016 Solstice for Sight Donation Slip. Please return this by email, or post to Retina Australia (Vic), 4th floor, Ross House 247-251 Flinders Lane Melbourne Vic 3000. If you prefer you can telephone the office on (03) 9650 5088 and Jun will be pleased to assist you with your donation. All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

 

Monthly morning teas 2016

Monthly morning teas are starting again on the first Tuesday of each month, from 10.30am to 12.00pm commencing on June 7, 2016. We'd love members to come and catch up with us at the office, 4th floor, Ross House, Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

Remember, the office is less than 5 minutes’ walk from Flinders Street station, and close to most city trams. Call us with any questions on (03) 9650 5088, or leave a message, even the day before, if you know you are coming. And save the first Tuesday of the month for the remaining months of 2016 (except November, when the morning tea will be held on the second Tuesday of the month, the 8th November).

 

Autumn 2016 Achiever

The Autumn 2016 Achiever newsletter is out, with details of a new gene therapy close to approval in the United States, a website for families with children with Usher Syndrome, workplace giving possibilities, and information about the Retina International congress in Taipei in July 2016. Please call our office on (03) 9650 5088 if you would like to receive the newsletter in an alternative format.

For the newsletter in pdf, click the following link: Achiever Newsletter March 2016 in pdf format


Summer 2015-2016 Achiever

The Summer 2015-2016 Achiever newsletter has been published, with a report about the Retina Australia National Congress held in Melbourne in October 2015, human interest stories, research news, holiday opportunities to Hong Kong and Singapore in 2016, Christmas jokes, and more. Please call our office on (03) 9650 5088 if you would like to receive the newsletter in an alternative format.

For the newsletter in word, click the following link: Achiever Newsletter December 2015 in Word format

For the newsletter in pdf, click the following link: Achiever Newsletter December 2015 in pdf format


Retina Australia National Congress October 23-25, 2015 in Melbourne

What a weekend that was! The Retina Australia National Congress (hosted by us) at the ibis Melbourne Hotel between 23rd and 25th October was a resounding success. Officially opened by Frank McGuire MP, the Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research, Frank spoke about his personal commitment to ensuring that government funds be found to support medical research. Frank remained at the Congress to hear the keynote address and to meet and chat to delegates over morning tea.

Dr Gerald Chader, Executive Director of the California Project to Cure Blindness, gave the Keynote Address. His talk “Retinal Degeneration: Moving from Scientific Darkness to the Light of Clinical Trials” outlined how research into inherited retinal diseases has developed during the last twenty-five years. Dr Chader's address ranged across developments in Genetics, Artificial Vision, Optogenetics, Neuroprotection, Antioxidants and Gene Therapy. He also described current and planned clinical trials. Dr Chader was particularly excited about developments in Gene Therapy to restore visual function and provided examples of the work of researchers such as Dr Robin Ali in London and Professor Jean Bennett in Philadelphia. In summary, Dr Chader stated that the “many years of hard work at the laboratory bench have led to many clinical trials that are testing meaningful and sight-saving therapies which will lead to new and improved treatments that will save and restore vision for patients with inherited retinal disease”. The remainder of the program was divided up into sections as follows:

The Congress was attended by 168 delegates including 3 from New Zealand, 1 from Germany and 2 from the USA. More than 120 delegates were personally affected by inherited retinal disease, while the remaining delegates were researchers, ophthalmologists and optometrists. The 25 presenters came from research institutions across Australia. Two workshops on Technology and Strength, Balance and Positive Thinking were led by representatives from Vision Australia, Humanware, Pacific Vision and Quantum. Highlights of the Congress were the keynote address by Dr Gerald Chader, the panel session where nine researchers fielded all kinds of questions from the floor, and the Congress Dinner where delegates were enthralled by Ms Betty Amsden AO's wide-ranging talk about her life experiences.

A great deal of work went into the planning of the Congress, and we were very pleased that it was a great success.

    1. Bionics, with presenters Professor Nigel Lovell, Dr Lauren Ayton, Associate Professor Nick Barnes, Dr Di Ashworth and Professor Arthur Lowery who discussed the Bionic Vision Australia retinal prosthesis trial and its future directions as well as the work of the Monash Vision Group and its Cortical Bionic Eye.
    2. Genes, Gene Therapy, Epigenetics and Genomics, with presenters Associate Professor Alex Hewitt, Dr Livia Carvalho, Ms Lisa Kearns and Dr Tina Lamey who provided an overview of the genetics of retinal disease, the developments in retinal gene therapy and some facts about inherited retinal diseases in Australia.
    3. Stem Cells where information related to the barriers for clinical application of such therapy, modelling for retinal diseases, correcting mutations and the progress in stem cell science was provided by presenters Associate Professors Fred Chen, Megan Munsie, Alice Pebay and Dr Sandy Hung.
    4. Mechanisms of Retinal Disease which included presentations by Professor Erica Fletcher, Dr Matthew Rutar, Associate Professors Robyn Jamieson & John Grigg and Dr Marc Sarossy. Topics included: how the inner retina affects vision restoration; inflammation of the retina; pathways to therapy; advances in electrophysiology and ocular imaging; and detection of retinal ischemia.
    5. Other related topics, which included a report on the lived experiences of people with retinal diseases provided by Dr Mallika Prem Senthil; the development of a Low Vision Activities of Daily Living Tool explained by Dr Lauren Ayton; the current status of the Australian Inherited Retinal Disease Register and DNA Bank provided by Dr John De Roach and Ms Terri McLaren; and how Viagra impairs vision explained by Professor Michael Kalloniatis.
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