Para-triathlete Lauren Parker to speak at Eyes for India banquet at Bonnells Bay on May 5

RESILIENT: Hunter para-triathlete Lauren Parker will be guest speaker at the Bay Church Banquet, at Bonnells Bay, on Sunday, May 5. Book now, seating is limited to 100 guests. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
RESILIENT: Hunter para-triathlete Lauren Parker will be guest speaker at the Bay Church Banquet, at Bonnells Bay, on Sunday, May 5. Book now, seating is limited to 100 guests. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Inspirational Hunter para-triathlete Lauren Parker will be guest speaker at a banquet with a purpose in Bonnells Bay next month.

Parker, the two-time para-triathlon World Cup event winner, will speak at the Bay Church Banquet, an event to raise awareness and funds for the work of Eyes for India Oceania.

The not-for-profit organisation provides treatment and restores sight to people living in India who have operable cataracts but cannot afford to have them treated, or cannot access medical treatment locally.

It's an international organisation, and its founding father in Australia is Bob Kalaf of Brightwaters.

"There are 15 million people in India who are blind due to cataracts. These are the poorest of the poor," Mr Kalaf said.

Being blind means these people are often unable to obtain work, so poverty becomes an abyss from which they feel they cannot escape.

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Mr Kalaf said the hero of Eyes for India was Dr Jacob Prabhakar. He leads a team of professionals who conduct screening clinics in rural communities in India to find candidates for the surgical procedure which involves removing the defective lens and implanting an intraocular lens.

"To see a five-year-old open their eyes and see for the first time in front of a mirror is something you'll never forget," Mr Kalaf said.

"Each donation of $75 can help a blind person in India have much-needed cataract surgery which restores both their ability to see, and their dignity."

The banquet will feature a catered dinner and entertainment, a presentation on Eyes for India Oceania, a talk from Parker, and an appeal to support the organisation.

Parker was on the way to becoming one of the world's best long-distance triathletes when, in 2017, she suffered a training accident which damaged her spinal cord and left her paralysed from the waist down.

She then transitioned quickly to become one of the world's best para-triathlon athletes, winning bronze medals at both the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games as well as the 2018 World Championships.

The Bay Church Banquet will be held on Sunday, May 5, from 4pm to 7pm. To reserve a seat, phone 0408 142 240. Visit eyesforindia.org.au for more.

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