Award: Highly Commended
Category: Charity

AT THE AGE OF FIVE, Melaine received a diagnosis of partial nerve deafness, a condition she has managed with two hearing aids.

Over the years, her vision began to decline, leading to an ongoing gradual loss of sight. The combination of these challenges led to her being diagnosed with Usher Syndrome – a rare genetic disease that affects both hearing and vision.

Despite her diagnosis, Melaine accumulated over three decades of professional experience within a reputable animal welfare organisation. Her diverse roles included Veterinary Nurse, Veterinary Administrator, Operations Manager and Community Outreach Coordinator. In 2021, at age 50, Melaine began looking for another job. In 2022, she joined the Guide Dogs Victoria team as a Relationships Coordinator, which coincided with her four-year anniversary as a Guide Dog handler.

Her beloved Guide Dog, Dessau, has given Melaine back her independence and their journey has been characterised by resilience, adaptability, and a determination to break down barriers.

Funding for Guide Dogs, 75 per cent of which comes from the community, allows the charity to support clients like Melaine to live a life without limits.

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"I admire what Guide Dogs do for the community."

FEMALE, 60-69, QLD

"They offer an essential service for the blind and vision impaired."

FEMALE, 40-49, QLD

"Transparent and honest."

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