Our stories

A family affair

Nino and Elese Gatto are very familiar faces in Griffith, New South Wales. For the past 18 years they have sold jams and pickles from a stall in town to raise funds for local people who are blind or have low vision.

Last year alone the Gattos presented us with a cheque for $5,000. The Gattos were inspired to support Vision Australia soon after the birth of their grandson, Ben, who was born with Leber's congenital amaurosis.

What he sees at six metres resembles what someone with perfect vision views at 60m. He also has nystagmus, which causes involuntary eye movements.

Elese has also developed low vision in recent years, due to retinitis pigmentosa, which causes retinal degeneration.

Despite the challenges of low vision, Ben recently completed Year 12 and now at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga studying a double degree in medical science and forensic biotechnology.

"I have low vision but I have learned to use my sight to its fullest," he said.

Vision Australia Occupational Therapist Erina Mazzei recently visited from Albury to prepare him for life away from home.

"For someone with low vision, household tasks many of us take for granted can be a challenge," she says. "But with the correct training and equipment they can master cleaning, cooking, personal care as well as gain all-important access to the community."

Vision Australia would like to thank the Gattos for their continued support and wish Ben the best for his future.

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