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Graeme Walls

It was a deeply profound moment for me, recently, to find myself walking in the shoes of a Mercy Ships patient I had been impacted by, during 2007 in Liberia.

I remember sitting in our cabin on the Africa Mercy, having breakfast with my family when we saw Sao being carefully guided up the ship’s steep gangway. She could hardly see in front of her due to dense cataracts that clouded her eyes. My wife, children and I prayed for her cataract operation right then, as she bravely made her way on board. We knew she would be the very first patient to receive surgery on the Africa Mercy.

Later the same day I was sitting in my office, which also overlooked the gangway. I heard a commotion, and when I looked to see what was going on, I saw Sao carefully going DOWN the gangway. It was evident that she could see one step in front of the other – Sao’s sight had been restored! 

This week, 17 years later, I find myself following in Sao’s footsteps as I have my own cataract surgery. Not on a Mercy Ship but a hospital in Auckland. There are other differences in our surgeries. You see, Sao was nearly blind from her cataracts. For me it is completely different – the impact of my cataract means I can’t drive at night. Maybe worse, I can’t read the rugby scores on TV! The world around me has become cloudy.

But there are similarities. Both Sao and I receive our surgeries free of charge. Because I live in a country that has a first-class health system, it was only a wait of a few months on the surgical list. But in Sao’s case there was no way for her to get the surgery locally.  Some amazing people’s generosity made it possible for the ship to provide this life-transforming operation for her.  

In New Zealand a cataract surgery costs around NZ$4,000. On board a Mercy Ship the cost is NZ$40.

So, to celebrate my own cataract surgery, I want to share the gift of sight with people who, under normal circumstances, have no chance of receiving surgery to restore their vision. I’m asking my friends to help me raise $4,000 for 100 cataract surgeries on board Mercy Ships in West Africa. Every dollar one of my friends donates, I’ll match up to the combined total of $4,000.

Will you help?

Click on “Join my support crew” to make a donation.

 All donations are tax deductible.

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