All I want for Xmas...

A special photo exhibition and auction in Hong Kong will raise money to give people back their sight in China.

A group of celebrity, professional and gifted amateur Hong Kong photographers are joining forces with Lifeline Express to help restore sight to the blind in China.

The photos they are donating to a charity auction and exhibition, opening on December 19, will raise money to pay for free cataract operations for China's rural poor. Cataracts typically afflict the elderly, but in China they cross all age groups and can even be inherited - there are an estimated four million sufferers and 400,000 new cases each year.

The condition is completely reversible, using simple micro-surgery to replace a patient's opaque lens with an artificial one. The Lifeline Express Photo Exhibition, sponsored by GOD and Hongkong Land, will help take this procedure to people who would otherwise spend the rest of their lives blind.

As well as contributing to this life-changing charity, bidders at the auction will also have the opportunity to take home one-of-a-kind prints by some of Hong Kong's most accomplished photographers, including celebrity snappers such as actors Jaycee Chan and Simon Yam, and former Miss Hong Kong Mary Cheung. Other notable hobbyists whose photographs are up for sale include Douglas Young, the founder of GOD; Professor Dennis Lam, leading ophthalmologist and philanthropist; Gary Chang of Edge Architects; jewelry designer Dickson Yewn; Patrick Dransfield, Asia-Pacific marketing director for White & Case; Professor Richard Yu; and lawyer Jack Su.

"I am delighted that so many Hong Kong people have contributed their talents for this worthy cause," says Nellie Fong, founding chairman of Lifeline Express and chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers in China. "By sharing their gift of sight, these generous people will very directly help those who at present cannot see."

Professional photographers Graham Uden, Gareth Jones, Wee Kheng Li, Craig Norris and Michael Wolf will also be auctioning their work, presenting a rare opportunity to buy the work of some of Asia's most collectable photographers.

Since 1997, the charity has criss-crossed China's hinterlands performing cataract surgery on the under-privileged from a purpose-built hospital train, restoring sight and returning hope to more than 50,000 patients. Today, Lifeline Express runs three eye-trains, capable of almost 10,000 surgeries a year.

Hongkong Land is donating The Rotunda in Exchange Square to host the exhibition, which will open with a launch party at 6 pm on Monday December 19. The auction will run to 7 pm on Wednesday December 21. All proceeds will go directly to the Lifeline Express eye-trains and to training ophthalmologists to work on the trains.

For further information please contact Annie Kaur at 'Lifeline Express' on 852 2861-0862 [email protected].

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