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Diane Louise Jordan: an eye-opening journey

Posted on: Friday, March 6th, 2020

Watch Etienne’s Miracle now – join Diane Louise Jordan on her journey to Rwanda (open link in new tab)

Television presenter Diane Louise Jordan has seen the life-changing impact of CBM’s sight-saving work, after a visit that resonated on a very personal level.

The broadcaster, widely known for presenting iconic BBC shows Blue Peter and Songs of Praise, travelled to Rwanda with her grandson to meet people accessing eye health services, thanks to CBM supporters.

In rural Bugesera District in Southern Rwanda, Diane and 12 year-old Preston met Etienne, a 10 year-old who had been blind due to cataracts since he was a baby. After spending time with Etienne and his family at their home, they made the three-hour journey to CBM partner hospital Kabgayi Eye Unit, where Etienne underwent operations on both eyes to remove his cataracts, enabling him to see for the first time.

“I had the privilege of being with him while his surgery was taking place”, explains Diane. “I witnessed every second of it – and then his dad Etienne senior, Preston and I were there when he woke up from the anaesthetic. Then the next day we came back for the bandages to be removed.”

“On the final day of our trip we went back to the village to see him with his family and it was such a jubilant day for everybody.

“One day we saw a little boy who couldn’t see and 24 hours later, he had sight – that’s stunning. And all for the price of £100 per eye. I don’t know what better value you can get out of £100 than that.”

Diane is passionate about CBM’s work to prevent blindness, having seen the effect of sight problems in her own family. Her father lost sight in one eye due to an accident at work, then in later life developed the eye disease glaucoma. During her visit, Diane also met 73 year-old Vincent, who has glaucoma, and heard about the challenges he faces accessing treatment. The journey to hospital for regular check-ups, and to collect the eye drops he must use every day takes several hours on foot and by bus.

Look out for a heart-warming film about Diane’s visit to Rwanda and Etienne’s journey from blindness to sight coming soon – like our Facebook page to see it first (open link in new tab)!

UK Aid logo

Until 12th May 2020, all public donations to our See the Way appeal will be doubled by the UK government. So every pound you can give will have double the impact – it could fund twice as many sight-saving surgeries, pairs of glasses or eye-health outreach activities in the world’s poorest places. Your donation will help prevent blindness and transform lives wherever the need is greatest. Match funding from the UK government will improve access to sight-saving eye-health services in Malawi.

Image: Diane and Preston meeting Etienne and his mother and father at their home in Rwanda. ©CBM/Tugwell