Your donation to Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight is more than just a Christmas gift. It helps us provide life-long assistance to young Australians who are blind or have low vision.
The difference you can make
Although Parker is only four years old, he has already come such a long way. When he was just three months old, he was found to have barely any central and peripheral vision.
But today, Parker is a pre-schooler who makes new friends, speaks up with confidence and uses his newfound independence to take care of himself, his things and others.
‘Seeing Parker walk into the [class] room with his head held high and ready for everything this new stage of life would bring was truly one of the proudest moments of my life,’ his mum Amy said.
Recently, Parker’s weekly occupational therapy sessions and monthly physio appointments with Vision Australia moved online due to COVID-19 restrictions. In this time, he has learnt how to independently dress himself, brush his teeth, make his own lunch, use scissors and how to hold a pen correctly.
‘I'm so grateful that no matter how much the world is falling down around us, Vision Australia is there to make Parker’s dreams a reality.’
Meet little Luna. Luna is almost four years old and loves the Wiggles, animals and her family. She also loves Christmas.
At four months old, Luna was found to have nystagmus and optic nerve hypoplasia. It means she only has, at best, ten percent vision – there is no cure. Confused and scared for their little girl, Luna’s parents Sarah and Jake reached out to Vision Australia for support.
‘When we found out Luna had low vision, we were worried. We wanted her to be capable of doing anything she wanted. And we were worried about school later on. We just didn’t want her low vision to define her as a person,’ Sarah said.
Luna is now a happy girl who is comfortable at home but still struggles when she is in a new environment.
But early intervention provided by Luna’s Early Childhood Specialist Teacher, Tricia, has meant that Luna is now learning to navigate the world safely, develop literacy skills and play and learn – just like her sighted peers.
You may recognise our 2019 Carols by Candlelight Ambassador Paul from his tear-inducing performance on TV favourite Australia’s Got Talent.
A life-long client of Vision Australia, Paul, now 24, was born with low vision that over time has deteriorated to roughly 5 per cent. Determined to use his gift to inspire others, Paul put his hand up to sing at Carols by Candlelight, bringing the spirit of Christmas to millions of Australians.
'As someone who has lived with severe, degenerative vision loss all my life, it meant the world to be given the opportunity to sing at Carols by Candlelight and give back to those that have supported me throughout my life,’ Paul said.
Paul has been keeping busy since Carols. He is preparing for upcoming performances and writing new music, and even appeared on The Project to share his personal experience of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even in a time of uncertainty, Paul is optimistic. ‘I can’t wait to see what the future will bring’.