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Locals share the spirit of giving

THE Clarence and Sorell regions have 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 Clarence and Sorell regional communities have generously donated $438,000 to The Fred Hollows Foundation, allowing it 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 People’s Democratic Republic.

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

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

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 in addition to his children and discovered that he too had cataracts in both eyes.

“This was a very important case – the father and both his children had cataracts,” Dr Phetsamone said.

“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 generous support of local communities, their story has a happy ending.

The Fred Hollows Foundation founding director Gabi Hollows extended her heartfelt thanks to the people of Clarence and Sorell.

She said Fred would be amazed by their compassion to help people who shouldn’t need to go blind.

“Without the support of people from Clarence and Sorell, The Foundation couldn’t have helped so many people like Porlee and his beautiful children this year,” she 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 phone 1800 352 352.

Caption: Porlee and his children Blong and Shoua have received the gift of sight this Christmas.