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.
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.”