Eyes on a vital goal

Kate Hughes with local schoolchildren in Nepal. 161271

OCEAN Grove’s Kate Hughes is one of 2000 trekkers preparing for this year’s Wild Women On Top Melbourne Coastrek to raise vital funds for the Fred Hollows Foundation.
Now in its second year, Melbourne Coastrek is fast becoming one of the state’s most popular adventure challenges, with 500 teams of four trekkers, including at least two women per team, walking 30km or 60km along the picturesque Mornington Peninsula.
The event, on 18 November, aims to raise $1.2 million for the Hollows foundation to continue its fight to end avoidable blindness.
Since it began in Sydney in 2010, Coastrek has inspired more than 15,000 trekkers and raised more than $13m for the foundation to restore sight for thousands of people who are needlessly blind.
Kate is taking on the 30km challenge with her team the Bellarine Belles after seeing the work of the Fred Hollows Foundation first-hand in Nepal.
She visited the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology while visiting Nepal with her husband Daniel and son William, 12, recently. As Kate had already started training and fund-raising for Melbourne Coastrek she was interested to see work the foundation supported.
“I didn’t know what to expect and was completely blown away,” she said.
“We only spent an hour there but we could have spent all day. We toured the whole facility, met some of the clinical staff, saw people having their eyes tested, and saw the intra-ocular lens factory established by The Fred Hollows Foundation. We also visited the training facility for ophthalmology students from all over the world. The doctors there see 700 to 1000 patients a day, and some of the patients walk for days to get there. It was incredible.”
The visit made a big impression on the whole family, and inspired Kate to boost her fund-raising efforts ahead of the Melbourne Coastrek.
To support Kate or to learn more about Melbourne Coastrek visit melbourne.coastrek.com.au