Friends of Vi­sion Aus­tralia lun­cheon fo­cuses on real sto­ries of in­spi­ra­tion

Euroa Gazette - - NEWS - BY GRACE EVANS gevans@ ne­me­

RES­I­DENTS of Euroa were in­vited to en­joy The Vi­sion Aus­tralia Lun­cheon last Thurs­day at the Unit­ing Church Hall.

Guests came in num­bers, 49 to be ex­act, and they were treated to not only a mag­nif­i­cent lunch, but also an ed­u­cat­ing talk from Ash­leigh Mal­one, who is blind and has the help of a see­ing eye dog.

Ash­leigh’s brother James, who is also blind, ac­com­pa­nied her and pro­vided en­ter­tain­ment for all.

His pi­ano skills were on show and the vo­cals were won­der­ful, as the lo­cals were able to en­joy some truly in­cred­i­ble skill from James as he played the clas­sic Ge­orge Gersh­win “Sum­mer­time” tune.

There was gen­uine in­ter­est and ques­tions sur­round­ing the room at the end of Ash­leigh’s talk, in which she dis­cussed the grand ben­e­fits of be­ing able to have a see­ing eye dog.

“Friends of Vi­sion Aus­tralia are so in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to me and the money they have raised for me to be able to have a dog has changed my life,” Ash­leigh said.

“For each dog it’s around $50,000 for train­ing and it’s very re­as­sur­ing for a blind per­son to be able to get one.

“It’s re­ally an amaz­ing trans­for­ma­tion and it’s very im­por­tant we have the re­sources to con­tinue putting th­ese dogs out in the com­mu­nity.”

Pres­i­dent of Vi­sion Aus­tralia, Deb El­lis, was the or­gan­iser of the day and said she was thrilled to be able to have events like this held in Euroa.

“It’s to let the com­mu­nity know that when we sit down the street and sell a raf­fle ticket, the money goes to help­ing out peo­ple like Ash­leigh and James,” Mrs El­lis said.

“They’re able to see them here and hear their story and know their money is go­ing to a good place.”

Ash­leigh spoke of her nor­mal life liv­ing in Mel­bourne, and how her blind­ness doesn’t stop her from do­ing nor­mal day to day ac­tiv­i­ties, both in the home and in the wider com­mu­nity.

She cred­ited a lot of her courage to her dog Humphrey.

FAM­ILY AF­FAIR: Ash­leigh and James Mal­one were joined by their mum Chris­tine (left) and grand­mother Shirley Arm­strong - who is orig­i­nally from Bo­gie - dur­ing their visit to Euroa last week.

TELLING HER STORY: Ash­leigh Mal­one shared sev­eral sto­ries with the au­di­ence, and also noted that her see­ing eye dog Humphrey is quite the sock stealer.

AN IN­CRED­I­BLE TAL­ENT: James Mal­one showed off his bril­liant pi­ano and singing skills, which had the au­di­ence in awe.

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