We know how to restore sight – we just need you to make it happen. Your gift will help us take the miracle of sight to people like Eseple who live in remote communities across the Pacific.
Blind for ten long years
Eseple lives on a remote island in Vanuatu. For ten long years, she relied on her memory to visualise the world around her. Completely blinded by cataracts, she couldn’t see the faces of her loved ones or even leave the house by herself.
For those of us who take our sight for granted every single day, it’s impossible to imagine what those ten, needlessly dark years must have been like for her.
Think back over the last ten years of your life. And now imagine being completely blind for all of them. How different would things have been? For me, I would have missed seeing my children transform into young adults, and the magic of experiencing a Kiwi beach in summer.
I’m happy to tell you that with your support, Eseple had her sight restored late last year. All it took to give her a whole new lease on life was a 20 minute operation.
Ten years of The Foundation in Vanuatu
The Foundation began working in Vanuatu ten years ago, and since then we have screened and treated well over 32,000 people. It’s an impressive figure and you should be proud of the part you’ve played in making it happen. But Eseple’s story, which I would like to share with you today, is a poignant reminder that there are still thousands of people living in remote communities who desperately need our help.
Thankfully, Eseple heard just in time that a surgical outreach team from The Fred Hollows Foundation was visiting the nearby island of Malekula, and her pastor was able to arrange last minute transportation. It must have been a frightening journey, travelling on a small open boat from her tiny island home of Uripiv.
Simply overjoyed to have her sight back
It’s impossible for me to put into words the transformation Eseple went through overnight. Anxious about what lay ahead, she was quiet and reserved when she arrived at the eye clinic, completely dependent on her daughter to lead her around. But the morning after her surgery, when the bandage was removed, she burst into life and could not stop smiling.
She was simply overjoyed to have her sight back.
Your support can help restore sight to someone else like Eseple who is needlessly blind.
Not surprisingly, Eseple was eager to get home. On the boat ride back to Uripiv she marvelled at all the things she could see again: the sea, the sky, her island.
With her sight restored, Eseple can now experience the joys of life she missed out on for ten long years. She can see the expressions on her husband’s face, play with her numerous grandchildren, tend to her garden, and move around independently.
But while I am heartened by Eseple’s story, I am frustrated that she remained blind for so long. In fact, if Eseple had been able to access treatment sooner, she could have avoided going blind at all.
Remote communities need our help
We know how to restore sight – we just need you to make it happen. Your gift will help us take the miracle of sight to people living in remote communities with no access to eye care.
As the Executive Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation it’s my role to focus on results and get the job done. But what inspires me the most is the compassion and generosity of supporters like you. Every gift you make restores sight, dignity and independence to people like Eseple.
With your continued commitment, I believe we can reach everyone in the Pacific who is in need of sight-restoring surgery – no matter where they live. Thank you for your support.
All photos by James Ensing-Trussell / Topic Photo