The Christmas gift that keeps on giving
MEDIA RELEASE 01 December 2010
New Eyes: $25. Getting Her Childhood Back: Priceless The Christmas gift that keeps on giving
While most kids will be asking Santa for toys and games this Christmas, little Milka Isaac is just delighted she can see.
The 7-year-old, from Papua New Guinea, had the eyes of an 80-year-old due to dense paediatric cataracts in both eyes.
Milka could barely see 2cm in front of her face when she came to a clinic run by The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ.
After a 20-minute operation, she can now be a little girl again and enjoy all the things her friends do - including looking at the pictures in her beloved storybook.
Specsavers stores have teamed up with The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ to raise funds for sight-saving operations for hundreds of people just like Milka.
Kiwis are being encouraged to give the gift of sight this Christmas and buy a $25 Miracle of Sight card from Specsavers in the lead up to Christmas. Each card sold will help restore sight to a vision impaired person in a nearby Pacific nation.
Specsavers Auckland CBD co-owner and optometrist Chris Boyle said he was inspired to get involved after hearing stories about children like Milka. Milka's sight had been seriously impaired for two years before being restored by a straightforward operation.
"This is a condition that we would sometimes expect to see in much older patients not a 7-year-old. A case like this would usually be treated at the infancy stage and not be allowed to progress. We take it for granted in a country like New Zealand that we can access excellent medical and health services but we don't realise how lucky we are," Mr Boyle said.
Mr Boyle said he was incredibly touched when he heard Milka's story.
"As she realised she could see again, she began to smile and make jokes with her mum and the other patients. She had this huge smile, she was telling everyone about how excited she was to be able to read her picture book again!"
Mr Boyle said the cost of the card was a small price to pay for someone's sight.
"Every card that is purchased up to Christmas day will be helping someone in the Pacific to see again which is just amazing," Mr Boyle said.
"The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ is a fantastic charity with a strong connection to eye health, which is why we are so passionate about supporting what they do."
Pam Williams-Jones, Marketing and Fundraising Director at Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, said she hoped that families will come into Specsavers stores and purchase a card for their loved ones.
"Just $25 can help change someone's life forever. I couldn't think of a more wonderful Christmas gift," Mrs Williams-Jones said.
Visit www.hollows.org.nz for more information on donating toward The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ.