Ultra Desert Run Fundraising for the NVRI's Nicola Family Fund


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Photo courtesy Optiqueline


The Australian College of Optometry (ACO) is delighted to announce that John Nicola of Optiqueline, a long term supporter of the National Vision Research Institute (NVRI, an ACO division), is again competing in the Marathon des Sables in 2016 and has generously committed his fundraising efforts to the NVRI. 

About John

John is passionate about running and has already competed in several marathons including  the “ultra” run, the Marathon Des Sables.  Indeed John was to undertake the run in 2015 however John was forced to withdraw from the race for personal reasons. The funds raised by John, during the run up to the 2015 event, were used to establish the Nicola Family Fund, a capital fund that exists in perpetuity to be a permanent reminder of the family's support of vision research.  The inaugural recipient of the Nicola Family Fund Award in 2015 was the NVRI's Senior Research Fellow, Dr Hamish Meffin.

About the Marathon des Sables

The Marathon des Sables (Marathon of the Sands) is a 254km (200 mile) race in the Sahara desert. Known as the toughest footrace on earth, competitors complete the run over six days,  enduring temperatures of up to 120 degrees arrying all that they need for the week long journey in their backpacks, with the exception of the 120,000 litres of water consumed by the competitors, which is provided along the route by the 100 on course support staff.  The 2016 event will be the 31st year that the runhas taken place. 

About the NVRI

The NVRI, established in 1972, is a division of the ACO and oversees basic, clinical and translational vision research programs at the ACO, including the supervision of PhD, Masters and Honours students in association with university partners. The NVRI currently has a strong focus on visual neuro-engineering, and carries out research on neural development in the visual cortex, retinal physiology and translational research through its neuro-engineering laboratory. It has been heavily involved in the development of bionic eye devices in partnership with Bionic Vision Australia, to restore vision in people with retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. The NVRI is also a node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function which places it in a research network with Australia’s top six research universities. The Centre will examine the neural basis of attention, predication and decision-making through all the senses, with a heavy emphasis on vision. 

The ACO relies on the generous support of donors to continue its important work and we are 
extremely grateful to the intrepid John for making this further commitment of support to the NVRI!  




For further information go to John's website here


+1 #20 Tim and Irene 2015-03-13 18:36
Uncle John you're a champ! Cannot believe you are torturing yourself on this marathon a second time, such dedication! Cannot wait to hear about your adventure in the desert! xx
+1 #19 Paul Thomas 2015-03-12 09:44
$200 for you and my mum whose eye sight is suffering badly. The commitment you've put into this project is inspiring! I wish you well in every stride and hope the support of all us back at home base can lessen the pain a little. Let the adventure begin. Oh yeah, could you come back in one piece I can’t afford to lose a good running coach.
+1 #18 DOUG STABE 2015-03-04 14:11
$100.00 for your fund
I know you can do it
All the best
+1 #17 Kitty Liao 2015-03-03 09:19
$300. All the best and hope you achieve your goal!
+1 #16 Hans Stepper, $1000 2015-02-09 23:05
Dear John, good luck!
With the transparent, clear firmament above you in the desert night, think of the quote of “Immanuel Kant”, a German philosopher: “Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me”.
+1 #15 Glenn and Jo Howell 2015-02-03 10:15
$350.00 donation. Train hard and enjoy the experience. The challenge you put yourself under is inspirational for self discipline. Good luck. We will be with you in spirit
+1 #14 Ron & Sharon Hutt 2015-01-28 10:16
$100 donation. Good luck. From friends of Paul
+1 #13 Sue & David Jamieson 2015-01-27 21:39
Our best wishes for a successful venture and a safe return. Go John!
+1 #12 Stepper UK 2015-01-23 19:40
$200 from the Stepper (UK) crew. Good luck John and you remain an inspiration!
+1 #11 Graham Lakkis 2015-01-17 12:02
$254 donation - $1 per kilometre!
John, best wishes for your survival!
You are Superman.

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