Orbis Canada Brings the World’s Only Flying Eye Hospital to Ontario

FedEx to host Flying Eye Hospital at 11th annual Toronto Plane Pull for Sight

TORONTO, May 27, 2019 — From May 31 to June 11, Orbis, the international nonprofit working to fight avoidable blindness globally, will bring its one-of-a-kind Flying Eye Hospital to Ontario with stops in Ottawa (May 31 – June 3) and Toronto (June 9 – 11). This visit is an opportunity for Orbis to showcase the innovative, high-tech aircraft, a fully-accredited surgical teaching hospital that flies around the world to support the training of eye care professionals in developing countries.

The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital visit will coincide with Orbis Canada’s biggest fundraising event of the year – their annual Plane Pull for Sight in Toronto on Sunday, June 9. This signature fundraiser brings together teams from across the city to work together to pull a 65-ton FedEx 757 cargo plane along a 20-foot course. Plane Pull events will also take place in Calgary (June 22) and Vancouver (July 7). With the support of National Event Sponsor, FedEx, and its team members, the event has raised more than $1.2M over the last 10 years to support Orbis’s teaching, training and sight-saving work around the world.

“For more than 30 years, FedEx has been dedicated to supporting Orbis in their mission to eliminate preventable blindness around the world,” said Pina Starnino, vice president, Operations, FedEx Express Canada. “I am very proud of all our wonderful FedEx participants and volunteers who continue to rally behind this wonderful cause.”

The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital has been in operation since 1982. The MD-10 aircraft that ultimately became the third generation Flying Eye Hospital was generously donated by FedEx and launched in 2016. The plane is staffed by an Orbis medical team from around the world and supported by volunteer faculty who offer their skills in areas most in-need. Many of these volunteers are from Canada.

“Canadian healthcare providers play an enormous role in the success of the Flying Eye Hospital and the work Orbis does to train and support eye care professionals worldwide,” says Lisa McKeen, CEO of Orbis Canada. “To have the chance to celebrate their work and see dozens of teams come together to raise funds to help continue these important programs makes this Canadian stop for the Flying Eye Hospital incredibly powerful.”

The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital is the world’s only ophthalmic teaching hospital on board an MD-10 aircraft, featuring a state-of-the-art, fully accredited eye health training institution: a 46-seat classroom, laser room, operating room, and pre- and post-operative room. It is fully-equipped with technology that can transmit live surgery lectures around the world in 3D via Orbis’s own Cybersight, a telemedicine training and mentorship service for eye health professionals across the globe.

More than 253 million people in the world live with blindness or vision impairment, even though 75% of all visual impairment is known to be avoidable—that is, treatable or preventable. The Flying Eye Hospital is one of the many tools Orbis employs in its mission to fight preventable blindness, working with partners in low- and middle-income countries to mentor, train and inspire local teams to save sight in their communities.

While the plane is not open to the public on this visit, teams that fundraise more than $10,000 at the Orbis Plane Pull for Sight event in Toronto will receive a tour of the Flying Eye Hospital. Accredited media are also welcome to request a tour.

Media Contacts: 

Krista Lamb

Stephen Anderson
Senior Communications Specialist
FedEx Express Canada

About Orbis

Orbis Canada is an affiliate of Orbis International, a global non-profit organization that brings people together to fight avoidable blindness, restore vision and help ensure no one loses their sight to a preventable, treatable disease. Using its unique tools – over 400 expert medical volunteers, the world’s only Flying Eye Hospital, and an online telemedicine training and consultation platform, Cybersight – Orbis equips developing nations with the skills, resources and knowledge to deliver high-quality eye care to their own people. In collaboration with a global network of local partners, including hospitals, universities, government agencies and ministries of health, Orbis creates long-term, sustainable eye care solutions by providing hands-on ophthalmology training, strengthening healthcare infrastructure and advocating to make eye health a priority. For more information visit can.orbis.org/en.

About FedEx Corp.

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $69 billion, the company offers integrated business solutions through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 450,000 team members to remain focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. To learn more about how FedEx connects people and possibilities around the world, please visit about.fedex.com.

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