When her beloved father Ron started losing his sight to age-related macular degeneration, Faye Grant became his primary carer, enriching his last years.
That generosity of spirit continued after her death, with a bequest to Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA) that has the potential to enrich the lives of all Australians living with macular disease.
Faye included MDFA in her Will. Her bequest is now being used to fund vital, innovative research into macular disease through the Grant Family Fund, as a legacy to Faye and Ronald Grant.
The Grant Family Fund
The Grant Family Fund will be a key part of MDFA’s Research Grants Program, which has committed over $4.1 million to 21 world-leading Australian research projects since 2011. On World Sight Day 2020, MDFA announced a further $1 million will be allocated to research projects in 2021.
The Grant Family Fund is an additional research funding stream. Grants will be allocated to early-career Australian researchers working on innovative and creative projects and who require seed funding investments of up to $50,000.
MDFA CEO Dee Hopkins said the Grant Family Fund would support and give preference to projects that have the potential to shift current paradigms, and have a major impact on macular disease research.
“We’re looking to fund highly innovative small-to-medium scale research projects for a year. These will be projects that show potential for future funding by granting bodies,” Dee said.
The grants opportunity will be implemented biennially.
Faye’s sister, Janette Forrester, said while Faye’s Will bequeathed funds to MDFA, there were no other instructions in the will.
“In discussing it with MDFA, we thought that the research fund was the best way to use Faye’s bequest. We thought that Faye would like to have the funds invested in that way.”
Living with AMD
Ronald Grant lived with wet age-related macular degeneration for the last 15 years of his life. The AMD affected both eyes, but regular eye injections saved his sight for most of that time. His vision started to deteriorate in the past four or five years of his life.
Jan describes her father as “old school”. He was a man perhaps typical of his generation - he didn’t pay much attention to his health but then never complained much and just took life in his stride.
When his vision and the health of his wife Florence started to decline, Faye stopped work to care for her parents. When Florence died in 2012, Faye became Ronald’s main carer.
“She ran around, she would take Ron shopping and generally looked after them. Ron and Faye both loved swimming and would go to the beach at Williamstown (in Melbourne) and would walk along the beach and swim together. Dad loved the cold water.
“Faye loved being with Ron, she absolutely idolised Dad and it made it really easy for her (to care for him). They were the best of mates.”
Jan says Faye took Ron to all of his eye injection appointments and was acutely aware of how important the treatments were to the maintenance of her father’s sight.
Ronald Grant died in 2016. Faye passed away, at the age of 59, in 2019.
A lasting legacy
Faye’s generous gift leaves a lasting and meaningful legacy.
It is our hope that the research sponsored by the Grant Family Grant will lead to medical breakthroughs that will literally change lives.
Macular disease is the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australia. Today, one in seven Australians over the age of 50 has some evidence of age-related macular degeneration, which is the most common macular disease.
A bequest to MDFA is a meaningful way to make a lasting impact on the eye health and lives of future generations. Every gift - big or small - received by MDFA allows us a considerable degree of flexibility and security in planning for the future. It also allows us to continue to support our community.
By including a gift in your Will to MDFA, you are joining a family of honoured supporters that we call Visionary Partners. Visionary Partners in our bequest program share a common bond: They want a future where no one unnecessarily loses their sight to macular disease.
If you would like more information on our Visionary Partners program or how to get started on making a gift in your Will, please contact MDFA (1800 111 709, [email protected]