Ambassador, Jean Kittson
Jean Kittson is a multi-talented performer, writer and proud Ambassador of Macular Disease Foundation Australia. Jean is an engaging speaker and gives a personal and wonderful insight into the impact of macular degeneration on the family.
Macular Disease Foundation Australia is very grateful to Jean for her Ambassadorial work and dedication in promoting the Foundation's important messages.
"I remember the day my mother Elaine told the family she was losing her sight. She was in her early forties and had been to an ophthalmologist because she was having trouble with her vision. In particular the white lines on the road had become wavy. She wasn’t told what her vision problem was, only that she would go blind one day and there was nothing she could do about it. Then she was sent home.
"Without an understanding of her eye condition it was impossible to know how we could help or prepare for the future.
"Nearly fifty years later mum is legally blind and many of the pleasures of her life have been greatly restricted; seeing movies, reading books, watching television. She now relies on her remaining senses. She still cooks an excellent fruitcake, conjuring by recollection, taste, smell and a fine mathematical mind. Dad is a great help to her, assisting when needed and being her constant, faithful chauffeur.
"Much of their lives revolves around things they do with vision impaired groups, like walking, fitness and bowls. It is sad that mum can no longer read, drive or go to the movies – things she loved doing. She does have talking books, and a really big TV screen.
"I have an uncle who also has macular degeneration so I am keenly aware that along with age, genetics puts you at risk.
"I care deeply about the eye health of my family and the possibility of my children getting the disease. I hope that one day, with enough support for research, we will have a cure for this disease.
"At the moment, early diagnosis is imperative for treatment so my key message for everyone is get your macula checked and if you have someone in your family with macular degeneration contact the Foundation. They are warm, friendly and give invaluable information and great support. They make a huge difference."