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Michael Owen scores in London Marathon for eye research and treatment in Manchester

Michael Owen and Olivia DronsfieldRetired footballer Michael Owen today donated £25,681.20 to the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and scientists from The University of Manchester, after running the London Marathon for the cause.

The football pundit joined thousands of other fundraisers at the starting line next to Tower Bridge on Sunday 6th April, hoping to raise vital funds to help scientists and doctors develop new treatments for patients with inherited eye disorders.

Michael, who played for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City during his career finished the race in an impressive 3 hours, 45 minutes and 43 seconds - beating off competition from other celebrities hitting the tarmac alongside him.

Other celeb runners included ex rugby player Lewis Moody, TV star Natalie Dormer from Game of Thrones, presenter Jenni Falconer and Shadow Chancellor, MP Ed Balls.

Michael was joined at the cheque presentation by one of the hospital's patients, Olivia Dronsfield from Gatley.

Two-year-old Olivia has visited the eye hospital regularly since being diagnosed with Congenital Glaucoma at just 11-weeks-old. She had three operations within the first six months of her life and has continued having treatment since then.

Michael Said: "Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and scientists at The University of Manchester are doing fantastic work to develop new treatments for families with genetic eye disorders, so I'm really pleased to be able to support this cause. 

"It's a cause that's very close to my heart and I hope my support will boost their quest to find more treatments for patients like Olivia."

Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Professor Chris Lloyd said:  "We're really pleased that Michael has chosen our cause as one of the beneficiaries of his fundraising.  Donations like this really help us deliver clinical research and therefore have a direct impact on the patients that we help.  We are absolutely delighted to receive this cheque today.

This year, to mark Manchester Royal Eye Hospital's bicentenary year, we hope to raise at least £200,000 to improve facilities in the children's outpatient clinic.  It's fantastic to have Michael's support to help us do this."

Graeme Black, Professor of Genetics at The University of Manchester, said:  "Michael's support will help us in our quest to improve the outcomes for patients, like Olivia, so they can lead better and more fulfilling lives."

Footnotes:

The University of Manchester, in partnership with Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, is making a major contribution to the future of genetic medicine through the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine. This highly specialised research aims to identify gene variants that cause disease in the eye. A new test developed by the Manchester team has increased diagnostic pick up rates in these conditions from 15% to over 60%.