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Optical Express sponsors Atlantic rowing challenge for dementia research

Optical Express has become the official headline sponsor of a rowing challenge that will see Jason Black (52) and Neil Glover (60) row over 3100 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, in an effort to raise money to fund groundbreaking research into a cure for dementia.

The pair will set off in January and will travel completely unsupported on "Destiny's Tide", a small human powered rowing boat. They will spend a gruelling 45-55 days crossing the Atlantic in aid of dementia research charity Race Against Dementia.

Founded by three-time Formula One world champion Sir Jackie Stewart OBE following his wife Lady Helen Stewart’s dementia diagnosis, Race Against Dementia funds pioneering research into cures for dementia. Jason and Neil’s expedition across the Atlantic has been made possible thanks to headline sponsorship from Optical Express, the UK’s leading provider of laser eye surgery.

Neil Glover, rower on Destiny’s Tide, said: “I have endured relentless physical training day in day out for over a year to prepare for this monumental event. Rowing the Atlantic Ocean is an incredibly demanding mental and physical challenge. It’s a privilege to be able to compete in this event and I want to test the limits of what I can endure. Leaving a legacy and making a difference to help find a cure for dementia is what will keep us going through those long tough days and weeks – if we can help just one soul then it will be worth it.”

Sir Jackie Stewart OBE said: “Dementia is an urgent and accelerating problem that will take ingenuity and ambition to solve. I admire Neil and Jason for taking on this tremendous challenge and would like to thank long-term supporters David Moulsdale and Optical Express for once again supporting Race Against Dementia, this time as the headline sponsor of Destiny’s Tide.”

As well as raising vital funds for dementia research, the pair will also be carrying out an environmental study, collecting marine research data to help better understand the micro plastic pollution problem in the Atlantic Ocean. Optical Express are particularly concerned by ocean pollution and how the eye care sector and disposable contact lenses in particular, are contributing to this global issue. Research suggests that 97% of contact lens wearers are damaging the environment as a result of disposing of these single use plastics incorrectly.[1]

David Moulsdale, Founder and CEO of Optical Express, said: “Optical Express and the Moulsdale Foundation are proud to have been a long-term supporter of Race Against Dementia, as we recognise the charity’s vital work to accelerate global research into this devastating disease. It’s fantastic to see Jason and Neil join the race to finding a breakthrough cure, and to see how deeply committed they are to the cause. We are also proud of the challenge’s commitment to environmental research as Optical Express has long been a leader in tackling the use of plastic and has raised concerns about the damage they are inflicting on the environment. Each row stroke will truly help to make a difference and we are delighted to support them in this extraordinary challenge.”

Over the last 33 years the Moulsdale Foundation and companies owned and controlled by founder David Moulsdale, including Optical Express, have supported hundreds of philanthropic endeavours, donating over £34 million to worthwhile causes in the UK and abroad by the end of 2023.

Charitable contributions will go to Race Against Dementia to help scientists continue to undertake vital research to find preventative treatments and cures for the Dementia.