Mother and lawyer, Phoebe Young, is a strong supporter of QEI’s research into ocular diseases.
At the age of 18, Phoebe suffered Stevens-Johnson Syndrome which resulted in the amputation of both her legs below the knee along with her left hand and the finger tips on her right hand. In addition to dealing with this traumatic loss, Phoebe also suffered the loss of her eyesight which she states has been her greatest challenge.
Phoebe is legally blind but with the help of hard contact lenses she can see about 50% of what a person with normal vision can see in her right eye. She remains completely blind in her left eye.
Despite these overwhelming challenges Phoebe has refused to be defined by her disabilities and since her illness has completed degrees in Arts and Law and worked as a solicitor in QLD and WA.
In 2019, Phoebe was involved in QEIF’s Last Seen Exhibiton to save sight. To read more about Phoebe, please see here.
Oscar Eckersley has been a patient of the QEI Clinic since he was just a toddler. Despite his young age, he has endured many major operations to control his congenital glaucoma and preserve the sight in his affected eye.
After one particular surgery, Oscar was petrified to open his eyes for fear he couldn’t see and it took him days to work up the courage. “He would just sit with his head down eyes closed and listen to Disney’s Frozen movie on the TV over and over and over,” recalled Oscar’s Mum, Melissa. Elsa has been a big part of Oscars’ journey with his eye condition. “She helped me get over the fear and just do it,” remembers Oscar.
Now that he’s older, Oscar has moved on from Elsa and is now a keen soccer player! A sport he had previously been too worried to play in case he hurt his eye.
Oscar and Melissa are great supporters of QEIF and have been involved in numerous awareness and fundraising initiatives over the years. In 2019, Oscar was a participant in the Last Seen Exhibition to Save Sight. You can read more about Oscar and his Last Seen here.
Fireman Wayne Sticher has been an avid supporter of the Prevent Blindness Foundation since July 2002 when he first met Professor Lawrence Hirst as a patient. Wayne was diagnosed with Paecilomyces Keratitis an extremely rare and aggressive fungus which almost claimed Wayne’s eye.
After his recovery, Wayne was given the opportunity to view the facilities at the Queensland Eye Institute and speak with the researchers, scientists and staff. He was shocked and amazed to discover that no government funding had been provided to allow QEI to undertake their vital and necessary research into vision loss, which not only included their breakthrough work into Paecilomyces Keratitis, but also more common conditions, such as Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration. It is mainly through the charitable work of the Queensland Eye Institute that this research is able to be undertaken.
Since then Wayne, together with his wife Del, have been active advocates of the Queensland Eye Institute always eager to volunteer in anyway they can. Wayne took this to the extreme by climbing Mt Kilimanjaro whilst guiding blind cycling para-olympian Bryce Lindores to raise community awareness for eye research in 2009.
Wayne says, “We continue to marvel at the research and are proud to be a very small part of the achievements of QEI on not only a local, but an international scale. We are proud to have seen them grow from very humble beginnings to being an international centre for excellence and look forward to sharing in their future achievements.”
In 2019, Wayne was involved in QEIF’s Last Seen exhibition to save sight. Please see here to read more about Wayne’s story.
Peter Vance has a long relationship with the Queensland Eye Institute Foundation (QEIF), dating back to 1996 when Professor Lawrence Hirst removed Peter’s cataract at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. In 1983, Peter was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a condition he inherited from his Mother. RP is a genetic condition that causes cells in the retina – the light sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye – to degenerate. Growing up Peter experienced night blindness, gradual loss of peripheral vision and now has only a small tunnel of central vision left.
A passionate singer and songwriter, Peter has not let his vision impairment hold him back. Regularly performing at jazz venues, festivals and community events, he even performed an original song ‘Torch of Life’ at the 2000 Summer Olympics torch relay celebrations at Mount Coot-tha.
As a regular supporter of QEIF, Peter was involved in the Last Seen Exhibition to save sight in 2019. It was at the Last Seen Cocktail Party & Auction that he performed his song ‘Last Seen’ written as a tribute to the Exhibition and fellow participants. You can read more about Peter’s story here.