SIGHT RESTORED: Fred Hollows Foundation patient, Night Baeni, with her mother Deborah. Photo: MICHAEL AMENDOLIA
SIGHT RESTORED: Fred Hollows Foundation patient, Night Baeni, with her mother Deborah. Photo: MICHAEL AMENDOLIA

Fraser Coast’s generosity in clear view during tough year

FOR five-year-old Night, getting to school was an everyday battle.

The young Kenyan girl was desperate to learn but her poor eyesight, caused by cataracts in both eyes, caused her to stumble and made lessons impossible.

A quick and simple operation restored Night’s sight and changed her life.

Night’s parents, Stephen and Deborah, were overjoyed by the opportunities the Fred Hollows Foundation offered their little girl.

“I am overjoyed because deep down I knew we couldn’t afford the cost of surgery to have her eyesight restored,” Stephen said.

Night is just one of the many patients the foundation has helped in recent years.

It’s thanks to the generosity of regular donors that this life-changing work is possible, founding director Gabi Hollows said.

These donors include 41 Fraser Coast residents who in the past year joined the fight against debilitating eye conditions.

Ms Hollows said 18 people from Hervey Bay and 13 from Maryborough had become regular donors during this difficult year.

“I know that this is undoubtedly a challenging time for many of our supporters,” Ms Hollows said.

“This certainly is our toughest year; trying to restore sight to people who are needlessly blind during a global pandemic.

“To see the Fraser Coast region’s continued generosity warms my heart and reminds me of the true, altruistic Australian spirit that has kept The Foundation alive for 27 years.

“Thank you to the people of the Fraser Coast region for continuing The Foundation’s work and keeping Fred’s dream alive. I am truly grateful.”

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms Hollows said, the foundation started contributing to local responses across the world through redirecting resources to fight the pandemic.

Many health care workers who usually focus on eye care have been using their medical expertise on the front lines, such as nurses in our eye hospitals in the Philippines and Kenya.



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