A recent bequest to Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA) by Faye Grant of Melbourne, is to be allocated to Australian researchers working on new and innovative projects, who require seed funding investments of up to $50,000.
The Grant Family Fund will be a key part of MDFA’s Research Grants Program, which has already committed over AU$4.1million to 21 world-leading Australian research projects.
The bequest was made by Ms Grant, who cared for her beloved father Ron when he started losing his sight to age-related macular degeneration.
Ms Grant’s sister, Janette Forrester, said while her sister’s Will bequeathed funds to MDFA, there were no other instructions.
“In discussing it with MDFA, we thought that the research fund was the best way to use Faye’s bequest. We thought Faye would like to have spent the money that way.”
Dee Hopkins, MDFA CEO, said the Grant Family Fund will support and give preference to innovative areas and approaches in macular disease research. “We’re looking to fund highly innovative small-to-medium scale research projects for a year. These will be projects that show potential for future funding by granting bodies,” she said.
The grant opportunity will be implemented biennially.
Living with AMD
Ronald Grant lived with wet age-related macular degeneration for the last 15 years of his life. AMD affected both eyes, but regular eye injections saved his sight for most of that time. His vision started to deteriorate in the last four or five years of his life.
Ms Forrester describes her father as “old school”. He was a man perhaps typical of his generation – he didn’t pay much attention to his health but then never complained much and just took life in his stride.
When his vision, and the health of his wife Florence, started to decline, Ms Grant stopped work to care for her parents. When Florence died in 2012, she became Ronald’s main carer.
“She ran around, she would take Ron shopping and generally looked after them,” said Ms Forrester. “Ron and Faye both loved swimming and would go to the beach at Williamstown (in Melbourne) and would walk along the beach and swim together. Dad loved the cold water.
“Faye loved being with Ron, she absolutely idolised Dad and it made it really easy for her (to care for him). They were the best of mates.”
Ms Forrester said her sister took their father to all of his eye injection appointments and was acutely aware of how important the treatments were to the maintenance of her father’s sight.
Ronald Grant died in 2016. Faye passed away, at the age of 59, in 2019.
A Lasting Legacy
Macular Disease Foundation Australia hopes the research sponsored by the Grant Family, and by others who leave a gift in their Will to the Foundation, will lead to medical breakthroughs that will change lives.
Those who leave a gift to the Foundation in their Will join a family of honoured supporters that MDFA calls Visionary Partners. To find out more, visit mdfoundation.com.au.