Vale Aunty Mary
Aunty Mary, an Indigenous Elder and Bundjalung woman passed away on Monday 30 September 2019. Aunty Mary played a major role connecting Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Aunty Mary was originally from near Taree on the Central Coast and lost her own sight due to Diabetes. Before her passing she lived in Rylstone, near Mudgee, for around 10 years.
Aunty Mary started working with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT in 2012, initially with the creation and development of educational materials ‘Aunty Mary’s Story’, which later became the Aunty Mary Program. This project was designed to help Indigenous people learn the importance of looking after their eyesight.
Aunty Mary worked tirelessly, with the strong support of her husband Rodney, to educate her own community through field days, the annual Yarbon Festivals, NAIDOC and other events. She worked alongside Aboriginal Eye Health specialists, Optometrists, the Brien Holden Vision Institute, presenting at numerous conferences.
Aunty Mary will be remembered for her natural warmth, sense of humour and relentless promotion of Guide Dogs’ services in her desire to improve the eye health of Indigenous people. Aunty Mary even had her own long cane painted in the colours of the Aboriginal flag. She will be greatly missed.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are six times more likely to get vision problems.
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