After four years of fundraising 24 Victorian Specsavers stores, have announced they have raised more than $100,000 for The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Foundation through the Specsavers Community Program.

Funds donated for 2017 have been used to purchase a Tobii Eye Gaze device, a speech-generating machine which allows non-verbal patients to communicate through the movement of their eyes. Communication through speech is important for children’s learning development. Speech generation from the Tobii Eye Gaze device helps non-verbal children feel more socially connected with family, friends and peers. Once trained on the device, the children who have used it in the hospital are ready to use eye gaze technology at home.

Giovina Cicchitti, Corporate Engagement Manager for the RCH Foundation says “Thanks to the generosity of the Specsavers Altona North store and its customers, the RCH Foundation has supported the purchase of a Tobii Eye Gaze Device, an incredible piece of technology that’s changing lives. Giving children who are unable to speak a voice is incredible and means the hospital can deliver the life changing care they rely on. We are very thankful to Specsavers stores in Victoria for fundraising for the RCH Foundation.”

Natalie Weekly, Speech Pathologist with the Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service at the RCH said, “I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of young patients using the Tobii Eye Gaze Device as part of their rehabilitation and it’s truly remarkable to see the improvement in their communication and interaction with loved ones and peers”.

Co-owners of Specsavers Altona North, Wendy Yue Ma and Matthew Campanaro say the team has enjoyed fundraising for the RCH Foundation through the Specsavers Community Program.

“We are thrilled to give Specsavers customers the opportunity to help us give back to our local community through the Specsavers Community Program. We donate this money from our own pockets and the work the RCH Foundation does is so important in improving health outcomes for children. I’m so pleased the funds we raised have been used for something that’s going to make such a difference to the lives of non-verbal children. Devices like the Tobii Eye Gaze really highlight the necessity for good eyesight as well, something we are passionate about”, says Matthew.

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