Ahead of International Women’s Day 2013 (Friday 8 March), comedienne and actress, Ronni Ancona has become Sightsavers newest Ambassador. Ronni has experienced first-hand the charity’s work preventing blindness and restoring sight in the deserts of Northern Kenya.
Ronni first became involved with Sightsavers in February 2011 when she took part in the 100km BT Red Nose Desert Trek across Northern Kenya along with other celebrities, such as fellow ambassador, Lorraine Kelly and Olly Murs. During her time in Kenya, Ronni witnessed Sightsavers’ work in the area and helped to raise more than £1.3 million for the charity through Comic Relief.
Ronni says: “During the trek we went into villages with people from Sightsavers and identified those who had extremely bad sight problems. Those in the area have appalling risks of blindness, mainly from trachoma and cataracts.
“When we finished after five days and 107 kilometres, it was total euphoria. Word had got out about the pop-up clinic in the village, and seeing the throngs of people being treated by doctors and nurses, was just fantastic.
“I am thrilled to be invited to become an Ambassador for Sightsavers. I look forward to helping the charity raise awareness of the work I witnessed and in particular how little it can cost. For example £8 can pay for an operation for someone with the advanced stages of the blinding condition, trachoma. For less than a round of drinks down the pub, Sightsavers can restore someone’s sight! ”
For further press information, photos or interviews, please contact Julie Jenner in the Sightsavers media team on 01444 446690, firstname.lastname@example.org. For media enquiries out of hours, please call 07775 928253.
Notes to editors/
1. Ronni Ancona is a British actress, impressionist and author. Ancona won the Best TV Comedy Actress award at the 2003 British Comedy Awards for her work in Big Impression.
2. Sightsavers was one of the charities to benefit from Red Nose Day 2011. A percentage of money raised went towards helping Sightsavers continue its vital work in developing countries and specifically towards developing its work in Marsabit, Kenya. This year, Comic Relief is focussing on eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases, one of which is trachoma. Ronni met trachoma patients during her time in Kenya
3. Sightsavers is a registered UK charity (Registered charity numbers 207544 and SC038110) that works in more than 30 developing countries to prevent blindness, restore sight and advocate for social inclusion and equal rights for people who are blind and visually impaired. www.sightsavers.org
4. There are 45 million blind people in the world; 80% of all blindness can be prevented or cured.
5. Every sixty seconds another child loses their sight; only 2% of children who are disabled in the developing world attend school
6. In the six decades since its foundation, Sightsavers has:
- Treated over 206.8 million people for blinding and potentially blinding conditions
- Carried out over 7.1 million operations to restore sight
- Trained almost 0.5 million primary eye care workers
- Carried out rehabilitation training to 91,000 people.