South Weston girl Stella Mascord raises funds for Guide Dogs and awareness of Achromatopsia

When Stella Mascord learned there was no awareness day for Achromatopsia, she decided to organise one herself.

The five-year-old South Weston girl was born with the rare eye condition, which means can only see black, white and grey, and can't see well on bright, sunny days.

The idea for the fundraiser came about after Stella's school - Weston Public School - held an out-of-uniform awareness day for another charity earlier this year.

"She came home and asked when the awareness day for Achromatopsia is, but it's so very rare, there is no day," Stella's mum Meredith said.

"So she said she wanted to do one at school, and when I asked her who she wanted to raise the money for, she said Guide Dogs."

As the name suggests, Guide Dogs breeds, raises and trains guide dogs, but it also provides orientation, mobility and daily living services, adaptive technology and client support and advocacy.

Stella and her family have worked closely with Guide Dogs since she was two years old, with regular cane training and self-advocacy sessions (which have been conducted online by Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic).

The organisation also replaced her cane after it was recently broken, and whenever she has a growth spurt.

Guide Dogs receives minimal government funding, therefore it relies on community support to fund its services.

Meredith set up Stella's online fundraising page on June 26 with a goal of $250. By the end of that week, it had received more than $4000 worth of donations.

The total has since more than doubled to over $8500, including $375 raised by Stella's schoolmates at the out-of-uniform day on July 3.

Stella asked everyone to dress in rainbow for the day to "think of everyone living with retinal eye disease or low vision".

She said she was "very proud and happy" to raise so much money for Guide Dogs.

"Rainbow Day was better than my birthday!" she said in a video on the Guide Dogs Australia Facebook page (see the video in full below).

Stella's fundraising campaign will close soon. To make a donation, visit https://fundraise.guidedogs.com.au/stella-mascord.

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