Essilor offers support and encouragement to athletes and their families

DALLAS -- (June 2, 2005) – Along with April showers and May flowers, the Special Olympics made its way to the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex this spring. Essilor of America, as the subsidiary of the Official Worldwide Supplier of Ophthalmic Lenses to Special Olympics-Lions Club International Opening Eyes Program, was on hand for the events, held in Fort Worth on April 23, and in Dallas on May 6-7. Approximately 700 Essilor volunteers were present at the event to help coach and offer support to the athletes and their families.

Athletes were given the opportunity to participate in events such as track, long jump, softball throw and shot put. Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for participants eight years of age and older with intellectual disabilities (mental retardation). Programs such as Special Olympics provide avenues for participants to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy. The sharing of gifts, skills and friendship creates a sense of unity among the families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

“Essilor is a proud sponsor of the Special Olympics and was pleased to welcome all the participants to the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” said Hubert Sagnieres, president of Essilor of America. “Essilor has contributed to improved vision for Special Olympic athletes for a number of years and will continue to be dedicated to this important cause.”

Prior to 2003, Essilor Laboratories of America was a sponsor for the U.S. Special Olympics and provided free polycarbonate lenses to all athletes who required vision correction. Essilor furthered this relationship as in 2003, Essilor International and the Sáfilo Group joined forces with Special Olympics’ “Opening Eyes,” a program dedicated to improving vision care for people with intellectual disabilities around the world. Essilor International and Sáfilo Group entered into a three-year partnership (2003-2005) with the Opening Eyes program as the exclusive supplier of ophthalmic lenses (Essilor), frames and sunglasses (Sáfilo). Both companies also support the events in other ways such as event organization, communication activities and promotional materials.

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Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes™ program is a trademark of Special Olympics, Inc.