The Fred Hollows Foundation is thanking the Gympie community for their continued generosity and support during a difficult year for Australian households.
In the past year, 146 people from the Gympie area have become regular supporters of The Foundation, helping us treat hundreds of thousands of people living with avoidable blindness.
Amidst the rising cost of living, Queenslanders have donated more than $132,000 in the past 12 months.
Founding Director Gabi Hollows said the Gympie community’s steadfast support and generosity was particularly heartwarming given the current cost of living pressures.
“We know this year has been especially tough for families,” Gabi said.
“That’s why we are so incredibly grateful that people continue to support our work, allowing us to deliver life-changing treatments here in Australia and around the world.
“Thank you Gympie for allowing us to keep Fred’s vision of ending avoidable blindness alive.
“Without your generosity, The Foundation couldn’t restore sight to those who need it most.”
In 2022, The Foundation performed 3.9 million eye screenings, 122,000 cataract operations, 79,000 surgeries to treat trachoma, 10,000 diabetic retinopathy treatments and 304,000 other sight saving or improving interventions.
One of the patients who received life-changing surgery last year was Sok, a 10-year-old boy from Preah Sihanouk on Cambodia’s coastline.
Sok was born with cataract in both eyes which is a genetic condition that can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated.
His parents did everything they could to get Sok the help he needed, but when the family was scammed they lost all hope.
Luckily, his parents were put in touch with two eye doctors trained by The Fred Hollows Foundation.
In January 2022, Sok and his mother Chea La made an anxious five-hour journey by bus to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh where he underwent cataract surgery.
One year after the cataracts were removed from his eyes, life is very different for Sok.
“I am very happy right now.” Sok told a translator.
“I can play sport, I can learn by myself, I can go to the whiteboard at school and I can talk to my friends,
“When I was blind, I had no friends who would play with me.
“So today, I am very happy that I can do everything by myself, especially playing with my friends at the sea.”
For more information about The Fred Hollows Foundation or to help restore sight, visit www.hollows.org or call 1800 352 352.