A premiership champ in Nepal? Sight-saving surgery with Sam

AFL player and 2006 West Coast Eagles premiership champion Sam Butler talks to us about his first experience with CBM in Nepal.

When the opportunity came up for me to travel to Nepal with CBM Australia and support their Inclusive Eye Health program, I jumped at the chance. CBM does amazing work helping people with disabilities in the poorest nations. I knew I wanted to help them and that I’d meet some amazing resilient people, but I had no idea how incredible the journey would be.

I spend three days visiting the hospital, getting to know the beautiful patients and witnessing their life-changing cataract surgery. The whole thing totally blew me away. 

Their lives changed right in front of me. The first cataract surgery I witnessed was on 12-year-old Sajan. To watch him go from vision impaired to being able to see was incredible. When that eye patch came off and he realised he could see again, it really moved me.

What really struck me is how quick the surgery is. In under 15 minutes this boy’s life had changed forever. He had gone from struggling to read at school, to being able to read his books and enjoy school again. 

I met with lots of beautiful locals whose lives had changed forever thanks to sight-saving cataract surgery, and I can’t stress enough the pure impact this surgery had on every aspect of their life. When someone receives the miracle gift of sight, the positive effects flow through to their families and communities.

Sajan and Sam Butler in Nepal.
Sajan and Sam in Nepal with smiles all round.

Being on the ground was a great way for me to see and feel the work CBM does to help the poorest people living with a disability. It really blew me away. I mean, knew CBM Australia raised money for an important cause, but it wasn’t until I saw it for myself that I realised how impactful their work is to entire communities in developing nations.

For vision impaired people living in poverty the $33 dollar gift that restores their sight feels like a miracle, a new start in life, and at $33 I don’t think you can get better bang for your buck.

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