VISION REPAIRED: Shoua and Blong after surgery.
VISION REPAIRED: Shoua and Blong after surgery.

Blackwater helps restore sight to blind family

THE Blackwater regional community has gone above and beyond with the spirit of giving by providing a family the best Christmas gift of all: restoring sight to a single father and his two children.

Over the past year, the Blackwater region has generously donated $21,000 to The Fred Hollows Foundation, allowing us to reach Porlee, Blong, Shoua and thousands of other blind and vision impaired people.

Poorlee and his children Shoua and Blong, live in a small, remote village in Lao PDR.

Life is hard for local villagers, but for Porlee’s it’s been especially tough as both his children were born with blinding cataract.

“Our life was so difficult, I had no idea what to do,” Porlee said.

Poorlee and his children Shoua and Blong.
Poorlee and his children Shoua and Blong.

When Porlee heard about a Fred Hollows outreach eye camp that could help his children, he packed their bags and set off on the eight-hour journey to the hospital.

At the Provincial Hospital, Dr Phetsamone Indara examined Porlee as well, and discovered he also had cataract in both eyes.

“This was a very important case,” Dr Phetsamone said.

“The father and both his children had cataract. I was willing to operate, but only on five eyes – one eye for the father, as he needed to be able to look after his children.”

Because of Porlee’s tenacious love for his children, the skill of an ophthalmic surgeon trained by The Fred Hollows Foundation, and the people of Blackwater region who gave us the resources to reach Porlee’s family, their story has a happy ending.

Iconic Olympic swimmer and Ambassador to The Fred Hollows Foundation, Susie O’Neill, said that seeing the Blackwater community coming together for a cause that’s close to her heart, is inspiring and heartwarming.

“Knowing that communities like the Blackwater region still care about the extraordinary work that The Fred Hollows Foundation does, is incredibly moving,” Madame Butterfly said.

“It makes me proud to be a Queenslander, seeing communities rally together for a vital cause such as restoring sight.”

The family recovering from surgery.
The family recovering from surgery.

Founding Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation, Gabi Hollows, extended her heartfelt thanks to the people of Blackwater, saying Fred would be amazed by their compassion to help people who shouldn’t need to go blind.

“Without the support of people from the Blackwater region, The Foundation couldn’t have helped so many people like Porlee and his beautiful children this year,” Gabi Hollows said.

“Our generous donors are at the heart of our Fred Hollows family, and they help us transform the lives of those living with avoidable blindness.

“I am so grateful to everyone who has supported our work this year, and the past 25 years; I extend my heartfelt thanks and wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.”

For more information about The Fred Hollows Foundation or to help restore sight, visit www.hollows.org or call 1800 352 352.


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