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How to make a radio host speechless – Lucy Holmes

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Aug 8, 2018

Lucy in the Philippines 2017

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I am never lost for words. Ever. I can’t be. You see, my job is a Radio Host. I can talk underwater. Give me any topic, and I’ll give you my opinion. I rarely shut up.

So it’s very rare I am speechless. But I am about to shut up… and for a good reason.


What you won’t read in the headlines.

Nhung 7yrs. Location: Điện Biên, Vietnam 2018. Photo by Erin Johnson, Room3 for CBM Australia

I’m heading off soon to a remote corner of Vietnam. There will be flights, more flights, bumpy car rides for hours through mountains… (probably some car sickness too)… and I will arrive at the place where I will finally lose the ability to string a sentence together.

How can I explain this best?

I’m off to witness a Miracle.

And when you’re in the presence of a moment so magical and humbling as a Miracle, well there are no words needed. In fact – there are no words that do that Miracle justice. So I serve the silence by being speechless, as the beauty and majesty of the moment wash over me. Even if I wanted to speak, I wouldn’t be able too. That’s how it is when you see a Miracle.

It will be quiet. Unassuming. Still.

It will be humbling and emotional.

It will be insanely beautiful.

It will be a Miracle of extraordinary proportions.

How do I know it will be all those things? Well I’ve done this before. Many times. And each time, I’m silenced by the gravity of the situation.

Why your help is needed in Vietnam

For my fourth time with CBM, I am about to head off to a regional Vietnamese eye hospital. The majority of the patients are people who are blind from cataracts, most of whom have travelled long distances to be here. Some have been blind for a few months, some a few years. Some a few decades. There will be old men, there will be young mums, there will be tiny babies. All blind.

Pom Duong Thi, 62yrs. Location: Điện Biên, Vietnam 2018. Photo by Erin Johnson, Room3 for CBM Australia

Can you just take a moment to imagine that?

A Practical Exercise for you… Imagine this with me

Picture being completely blind, surrounded by darkness… perhaps you’ve been blind for decades. You live in a developing country, and you’re probably completely dependant on your family to keep you alive. You struggle to work, and you rarely leave the shack you call your home. It feels lonely, you begin losing hope…for some, this is blindness.

And the tragedy is, it’s completely preventable.

Then someone tells you that there is an eye hospital that will help you, and it will only take a 12 minute painless operation and you will be able to see again. And it’s only $33.

Imagine the chance to see your children laugh.

To see the FACE of your child.

See the street in front of you so you can walk safely.

See your hands, so that you can earn a living and provide food and shelter for your family.

Then… imagine not being able to access that operation. Living life. Without sight.

Now you understand your impact

It is for this reason, that year in year out, I choose to make Miracles Day my priority.

I ditch the comforts of life for a week and visit people living in poverty with disability to do that which I can do: spread the word about why these people need our help…and how simple it actually is for us to do just that.

This Miracles Day, I hope you will join Kel and myself as we take you on the journey of witnessing Miracles all over again in Vietnam.

To read more about Miracles Day visit cbm.org.au/MiraclesDay

Meet the beautiful faces that changed my heart forever

The times I have travelled overseas with CBM have been some of the most incredible moments in my life. I’ve met these people, witnessed their operations, and then I’ve been there when their patches were removed. Ive seen people see for the first time. 

Nhanh Nguyen Thi, 63 yrs and daughter Huyen. Location: Điện Biên, Vietnam 2018. Photo by Erin Johnson, Room3 for CBM Australia

It’s breathtaking.

It’s overwhelming.

It’s beautiful and brutal all at once.

Why do you say brutal, Lucy?

Let me tell you about the time I witnessed my first cataract surgery in Nepal. I almost fainted…

…It wasn’t the operation that made me nauseous though, it was the fact that my western life was so comfortable, and so unaffected by these poor people on the other side of the planet that I felt overwhelmed with utter guilt.

I rushed out of the theatre struggling to breathe, realising how blessed I was.

Your moment of entertainment or their life changed forever.

You see $33 is all it takes to restore sight to the blind.

$33 to me was a night at the movies, but to these people, that $33 operation was their life. Their WHOLE life given back to them.

It was their future, their hope.

Meet the man who put a face to it all

I met an old man in Nepal called Kiratnagar. He couldn’t work and feed his wife because he couldn’t see. He lived under a few pieces of sheet metal. Life was so tough.

Then I saw his operation. I stood there in scrubs with hot tears running down my face, and I was overwhelmed with grief and happiness all at once.

I was there a day later when they took off his patches, and I was the first thing he saw.

We didn’t speak the same language so we sat there both crying and then clapping and laughing.

That moment is burnt into my memory.

I’m weeping right now as I type about it. I witnessed a Miracle. I was speechless. Even these words I type seem so pathetic. No words can do justice to what I saw.

Your impact continues…

Last year I met a little six-year-old boy in the Philippines. He was blind and was about to receive his Miracle. The gift of sight. I asked, through the translator, what the first thing he wanted to see was.

He said “I want to see my Mummy’s face”.


Hot tears down my face.

Beautiful and brutal. Hope amongst the hardship.

And the difference? You and I. We are the difference. In a sometimes brutal world, be the beautiful difference.

Every time I have travelled with CBM, the people I have met have asked one thing of me. To thank you.

They want to thank you from the bottom of their hearts. 

Khut Lo Van, 79 yrs. Location: Điện Biên, Vietnam 2018. Photo by Erin Johnson, Room3 for CBM Australia

They understand all too well that it is people like YOU who are giving them their eye-sight back.

They are so thankful. So very, very thankful.

They are thankful for their $33 Miracle. Thankful for being able to see again… and thankful to YOU for caring. Even they struggle to find the words. They are speechless at your generosity.

So be speechless like me, if just for a moment, and give someone the gift of sight this Miracles Day. Be beautiful in heart and deed.