Three Years On: Joanna’s Story

Joanna after her cataract surgery 3 years ago, with her mother Frenil

Author: Frenil, Joanna’s Mother.

Our lives changed when Joanna woke up one day without sight. It felt as though our family fell down really hard. But as a mother, I had to be strong for my family…for my daughter. I walked her to school every day. I copied notes for her. I helped her eat, get dress, and move around. I served as her eyes. I did it lovingly but our family also felt the difficulty of our situation. I have three kids and all of them are studying. My husband’s income was not enough and I could not work because I needed to be with my daughter all the time. We were in debt. We were all stressed.

Sometimes, I still cannot believe that a surgery, which only took less than an hour, turned things around for our family…for Joanna. God used the people who helped us as instruments to change our lives. Joanna is now 16 years old. She will be in 11th grade this school year. She joins inter-school dance competitions and is a consistent honour student. She is now independent. For me, that means I can work and contribute to my family’s needs. As soon as she healed from surgery, I started selling food in various schools. Along the way, I met people who became my loyal customers. I saved my earnings to buy other products to sell. Eventually, I made and sold frozen food products to different communities.

Today, we converted a part of our house to a food business. We named it “3J’s Food House”. We have a small store – it’s ours…and I am thrilled! We sell flavoured shakes, French fries, and sio pao. Because of this pandemic, we started a delivery service. Joanna is in-charge of preparing the food orders while my husband and I take charge of the delivery. You see, she’s a good kid. When she went blind because of cataract, she hid it from me in the beginning because she did not want me to worry. She did want to be a burden. Joanna always tells me, “I want to do well because I want to be a role model to my younger siblings.”

Three years ago, our lives were very different. Things looked up for us when Joanna had her surgery. We were all given the opportunity to pursue what we wanted to do. I will always be grateful to God for all the people who supported us through Miracles Day. You did not just give her sight back; you gave our family a fresh start.


On Miracles Day, Thursday 6 August, give the Miracle of sight-saving surgery to someone living in poverty. Your $33 donation can change a life forever.

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