Australian actress, Jessica McNamee, has officially joined The Fred Hollows Foundation as an Ambassador following a visit to Vietnam where she witnessed sight being restored to the blind.
Jess joins personalities such as Adam Spencer and Olympic gold medallist, Susie O'Neill, as an Ambassador for The Foundation.
In particular, Jess will be representing The Foundation's ‘Miracle Club' - which encourages supporters to make a monthly contribution of $25, which is enough money to restore sight to a person in some of the countries where The Foundation works.
The Packed to the Rafters and Dancing with the Stars personality began her association with The Foundation after she raised money to help restore sight during last year's season of Dancing with the Stars.
Jess recently visited The Foundation's program work in Vietnam while on holidays in South East Asia. During her visit, she witnessed sight being restored to several patients including an 86-year old woman called Pham Thi Thong. Thong had been blinded by cataracts two years ago.
Jess escorted Thong to the eye department at Dai Loc General Hospital, which The Foundation helped build in 2007. Twenty-four hours after receiving cataract surgery, Jess removed Thong's eye patch to reveal that her sight had been fully restored.
"I've read a lot about Professor Fred Hollows over the past few months, so I feel extremely honoured that I can now represent his inspiring work that continues 17 years after his passing," says Jess.
"He is one of our greatest Australians, so to see for myself how his work is continuing to bring hope to people who would otherwise live a life of blindness, is incredible."
"When I first started talking to people at The Foundation, I couldn't believe that 3 out of 4 people who are blind in the world don't have to be. I didn't realise that such a small amount of money can improve someone's life forever, but now I've seen it with my own eyes."
Our work in Vietnam
In 2008 The Foundation:
- Trained 3,067 eye health workers including 29 surgeons, 26 paramedics/assistant doctors/ nurses, 531 school medical staff and teachers and 2,473 commune health workers and village health volunteers
- Screened 644,676 people
- Conducted 18,932 cataract operations/sight restoring interventions
- Upgraded or constructed nine eye care facilities
- Ran extensive eye health education campaigns
- Conducted an independent audit of the program
- Worked with partners on the National Strategy for Prevention of Blindness