Sometimes great ideas are driven by passion – a passion to achieve more and have a greater impact on the world. For plano’s Managing Director, Mo Dirani his idea to run a marathon in Cape Town, South Africa on 15 September 2019 is driven by a passion to help 50,000 adults and children receive the eye care they need to see clearly. The Australian entrepreneur is shining a light on the fact that millions of people do not have access to even the most basic eye care services.
As a result, their restricted vision significantly limits their educational opportunities and employment prospects. This marathon is a starting point, but certainly not the finish line. Mo is running to raise funds for the Fred Hollows Foundation, a Foundation that provides eye care services, education and eye care training programs to regions around Africa.
The late Fred Hollows saved the sight of Mo’s father, and this campaign is an opportunity to pay it forward.
Singapore, 16 July 2019: It takes a lot to run a marathon. Physical endurance and mental strength combined with a passion to see a challenge through to completion. When legs are tired, muscles cramp and that little internal voice screams to STOP, what motivates one to keep on going?
For Dr Mo Dirani, Managing Director of Plano, the drive comes from a passion to not only run, but to run for a cause that is close to his family, close to his heart and one that he has dedicated his life to addressing. With that kind of motivation behind you, the little voice quietens, muscles recall the hours of training, the metaphorical wall breaks…and you just keep going.
In 1980, almost 40 years ago, ophthalmologist Fred Hollows crossed paths with Abdul Dirani. Abdul had suffered a serious workplace injury putting him at risk of losing his eye and ultimately his ability to provide for his growing family. With a pregnant wife at home, Abdul prayed for a solution. That solution came in the form of Fred Hollows.
Fred was not your typical ophthalmologist. He took risks, he rocked the boat and on this particular occasion, he once again proved sceptics wrong by successfully saving Abdul’s eye.
For Fred, Abdul was another patient who needed his help. For Abdul, successful eye surgery was a lifeline that provided him with the healthy vision he needed to support his wife, his ten children at home, including the newly born Mo, plus the additional two who would eventually follow.
What is significant about this story is that Mo, Abdul’s son, is now an eye scientist and entrepreneur who carries the same passion to help others, particularly those in most need.
In 2016, Mo led an Australian national eye health study to assess the burden and causes of vision loss in almost 5,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians living in urban, regional and remote areas of the country. This study has helped shape vision care funding and ensured that tens of thousands of Australians have more accessible eye care.
Today Mo heads Plano, an organisation with a purpose to save sight and empower lives. Mo and his team have used innovative technology to provide a solution to help mitigate the public health, societal and economic issues posed by increasing rates of myopia – a global issue that Mo has dedicated his life to study and research.
In September 2019, Mo will be running a marathon in Africa. He will take 50,000 strides to complete 42.2 kilometres, in honour of his father and the drive to help those in need gain access to affordable, timely and quality vision correction.
“I want to give back. I want to help tackle avoidable blindness particularly in developing parts of the world where millions of people are unnecessarily suffering from debilitating vision loss. I know there are preventable solutions to vision loss. This marathon is about helping adults and children access those solutions,” added Mo.
The goal is simple – to complete the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and raise enough money to provide eye care to 50,000 adults and children.
Mo poignantly adds, “At the end of the day, caring about people is what being human is all about – I believe that was Fred’s motto. This is my way of giving back and helping adults and children regain their vision and a piece of their lives, the same way Fred helped my father.”
To support Mo’s efforts and help #GiveSightWithEveryStride, visit https://www.simplygiving.com/giving-sight-with-every-stride
Contact Sanchez Barry
About Dr Mo Dirani
Dr Mo Dirani is the founder and Managing Director of Plano, a Singapore health technology company that empowers people to achieve their best vision and eye health through education and science driven technological solutions. Mo also holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne, and MBA from the Australian Institute of Business, is a graduate from the Australian Institute of Company Directors and currently holds an honorary Principal Investigator position at the Singapore Eye Research Institute and holds an adjunct Associate Professor appointment with Duke-NUS.
The plano app is the first of its kind to provide a suite of child safety functions, while using science-based features to help modify behaviour in children to reduce myopia related risk factors and empower healthier device usage.
plano launched in Singapore in 2017, where they have already generated over 500,000 downloads, established broad industry collaborations and partnered with Singapore’s Health Promotion Board, to drive awareness and education to over 320,000 Singaporean children in the next 12 months.