Joan Kernaghan (left) and Marion Wilson talk about their
success at the New Zealand Blind Foundation Star Awards.
Photo by Craig Baxter.
Helping others losing their sight through sharing her own
experiences has won Dunedin woman Joan Kernaghan a national
Blind Foundation award.
Mrs Kernaghan (81), who is legally blind, received the
volunteer award at the annual Star Awards in Auckland
recently for her work as host of the Dunedin new members
group for the past nine years.
''Joan is always warm and caring and is a most wonderful role
model of the 'there is life after blindness' philosophy,''
She lost all but light and colour perception about 15 years
ago due to detached retinas and found great support at the
foundation, she said.
''I might not be able to drive a car or do my needlework but
I'd be lost without my audio books. I live alone and cook my
Shoulder-tapped for her role, Mrs Kernaghan said she had
never looked back as she found it very satisfying to see new
members grow in confidence - ''to see them realise it's not
the end of the world''.
As host of the three-week course, she helped show people the
practical things that could make their lives easier.
''It's the silly little things like using the phone or how
full to fill a cup.''
Dunedin's client services rehabilitation team won the team
It was recognised for its experience, ''huge work ethic'' and
ability to ''just get on with the job of providing quality
services to clients in a large geographical area'', the
Team member Marion Wilson, a child and family social worker
and counsellor, said the team comprised staff working in
areas such as mobility, jobs, counselling and daily living.
They covered an area from Timaru to Invercargill and were
known for ''going the extra mile'', she said.
Mrs Kernaghan said those who used foundation services were
very fortunate to have staff with such dedication.
''They're amazing, truly.''