Bundaberg shares the spirit of giving

Blong and Shoua after their surgery
Blong and Shoua after their surgery.

The Bundaberg community has gone above and beyond with the spirit of giving by providing a family the best Christmas gift of all: restoring sight to single father Porlee and his two children Blong and Shoua.

Over the past year, the Bundy region has generously donated more than $79,000 to The Fred Hollows Foundation, enabling support for thousands of 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 it’s been especially tough as both his children were born with a blinding cataract.

“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 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.”

Porlee with his children Blond and Shoua
Porlee with his children Blond and Shoua

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 Bundaberg 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 Bundaberg community coming together for a cause that’s close to her heart, is inspiring and heart-warming.

“Knowing that communities like Bundy 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.”

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

“Without the support of people from Bundy, 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.