When I received the email asking for volunteers for the Annapurna mission. I recalled a recount from a couple of years earlier where, on the last morning of the clinic in some remote village, they had opened the windows only to see the queue to the clinic trailing off down the hill. Word had spread and villagers had walked for hours to have their eyes tested. Unfortunately they couldn’t get to everyone that last day so many made the long walk home unseen. That broke my heart.

Being 57 years old though, I didn’t think it was something I would be able to be a part of. My family were all very supportive and confident that I was fit enough so I went ahead and volunteered. It has been the most amazing experience!

I was on the refraction team and, after doing a ret, holding up lenses my patient grabbed my hands and wouldn’t let go because they could see for the first time in years! I will always treasure the huge grin when I took her outside to show her how the world should look; and the enormous hug at the end of it all.

I think I have the dubious honour of being the oldest volunteer to date but please don’t let age deter you from such an amazing experience. You won’t regret it.
— Wendy Berlecky - Sydney Optometrist