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Imagine the joy of a grandmother actually seeing her grandchild for the very first time. Rejoice in the excitement of a grade school boy being able to read a book, now that he can actually see the book. Or, revel in the passion of a teenage girl finally and clearly seeing the ball and scoring in soccer for the first time.

Here in Canada, a child will typically have five eye exams by the time they turn 9 years old.  Living in Canada, it is inconceivable that a child could permanently lose their sight because they did not have access to an eye exam.  Yet, a boy in Zambia had his first at age 9!  And, it was an Orbis trained surgeon who used the new skills she learned from the visit of the Flying Eye Hospital and she was able to restore the child’s eyesight easily.

All of this is made possible because of Orbis.  Orbis brings life alive!

You, me, all of us, need to help Orbis continue this important work.  Orbis changes lives.  In many cases, they change lives  instantly.  There are very few things that you can do in life that has such incredible, profound, and instantaneous life changing impacts.

Please donate whatever you can.    Donate

253 million people in the world are blind or visually impaired — but most do not have to be.  Join Orbis in the fight to end avoidable blindness and help us change the way the world sees.

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The Orbis MD-10 Aircraft

This plane is the only “flying eye hospital” in the world.

Run by the non-profit organization Orbis, it’s capable of hosting surgeries to teach doctors how to save people’s eyesight in the countries it visits.

The plane was completed in June last year and is the third of its kind. Two previous aircraft have since been retired and are now museum exhibits.

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The Surgery inside the MD-10 Aircraft

I am pulling a plane to help fight avoidable blindness!

Yes, that is correct, I am participating in the 2019 Orbis Canada Plane Pull for Sight.  My team and I will be competing in the ultimate tug-of-war challenge – it’s us against a 60-tonne Boeing-757 jet – and it’s all to raise money for Orbis Canada.

Last year was a record-breaking year for Toronto and with your help, we hope to continue that incredible success! Be prepared to bring your determination, strength and positive attitude to help your team pull a 60-tonne FedEx 757 cargo plane along a 20 ft course in the least amount of time!

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The 2018 Brampton Flight Centre Team

Aside from the pull itself, the event will offer other fun games and activities for all participants and their families to enjoy, such as a giant obstacle course, bouncy castle, face-painting and many more exciting things to come! Apart from the pull participants, the kids will also have a chance to show their superhero strength and pull the plane in two time slots during the day.

Why not come and join me and other volunteers to help raise money for this worthy charity event.  It is a fun time and you get to pull a Boeing 757 jet on the apron at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.  Why not form a team of your own at work or with a group of friends.  Or, just offer a donation of any amount to this cause.  Giving the gift of sight is a life changing and dramatic cause that is important to all.

Orbis is important to me.  I have implants in both eyes.  I have had many laser surgeries for the measurement of the eye curvature and for trimming and tweaking my vision after the scalpel-based surgery.  My eyesight today is 20/20 in the left eye and 20/15 in the right eye.  It is better than most folks half my age.  All thanks to a skilled surgeon and the great care that we are privileged to enjoy here in Canada.

So, by helping Orbis succeed in its mission, you are extending our world class medical capabilities around the globe to the less fortunate people in countries where corrective surgery would otherwise be impossible.

Here is a link to my page if you just want to donate.  Tax receipts will be issued.

Donate to Orbis

  • Date: Sunday, June 9th, 2019
  • Location: FedEx Ramp, Pearson International Airport, 6895 Bramalea Rd, Mississauga, Ontario, L5S 9A1
  • Time: 10:00am to 3:00pm
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All of the teams from the 2018 Toronto Plane Pull for Sight Event of YYZ

Orbis is the result of a unique and lasting alliance forged between the medical and aviation industries. In the 1970s, leaders of these two industries came together to create the plan that led to the foundation of Orbis. We knew that the high costs of tuition, international travel and accommodations prevented most health care professionals in low-resource countries from participating in overseas training programs. Even when they could afford to study abroad, their opportunity for direct clinical experience was limited because strict licensing laws often prevented them from performing surgery.

The solution was a mobile teaching hospital. With a fully equipped hospital on board an airplane, health care professionals trained in the latest ophthalmic techniques (including paediatrics ophthalmology). They could then bring their surgical knowledge and skills to health care professionals in low-income countries through hands-on training and lectures. A grant from USAID and funds from private donors enabled us to successfully convert a DC-8 plane into a fully functional teaching eye hospital. As replacement parts for the original DC-8 plane became more difficult and expensive to obtain, it became clear that a newer, larger aircraft was needed. In 1992, after a major fundraising appeal, we purchased a wide-body DC-10 to replace the DC-8. Within two years, we had converted the plane into an eye surgery hospital. Our inaugural mission was to Beijing, China. Today, Orbis has a fully equipped Flying Eye Hospital built into a MD-10 jumbo jet airplane.

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The Orbis MD-10 Rotating Out on another Global Mission

Orbis Canada became an affiliate member of Orbis International in 1984, joining the fight against avoidable blindness in developing nations by creating awareness and raising funds throughout Canada.

Orbis Canada is proud to have donors from coast to coast in every province and territory as well as an incredible group of Canadian medical volunteers who train and restore vision on many different projects each year including those on board the Flying Eye Hospital.

Our signature event, Plane Pull for Sight, celebrated its 10th Anniversary in 2018. Alongside FedEx Canada, Orbis has grown Plane Pull for Sight into a national campaign taking place in five Provinces, raising close to $1 million to help fight avoidable blindness.

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20 Team Members Pull a 60 tonne FedEx 757 cargo plane along a 20 ft. course.  The best time wins the competition!

About the Author:

Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless and digital communications technologies.

He is a Senior Executive with IBM Canada’s Office of the CTO, Global Services. Over the past 14 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He was previously a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX).

Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V). 

He serves as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario.  For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section. 

He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has diplomas and certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology.