Shining a spotlight on our Eye Health Hero in celebration of International Women’s Day

News from St John - 8 Mar 2023

Lyndall De Marco AM is a woman helping prevent avoidable blindness in Queensland.

As the founder of the St John Eye Van and St John Ambulance’s General Manager of Ophthalmic Programs Lyndall talks to us about her passion for sight.

I started my life as a high school teacher after learning many invaluable skills I went onto become the Global Head of Education for Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts. In this role I was able to establish a Youth Program in Thailand in 1994, I took this same program to London where I worked with the Princes Charities to expand it to 15 countries, I am happy to report that it continues today. On returning to Australia, I then established the IDEAS Van with a grant from Queensland Health.

I’d have to say my greatest achievements are my two daughters, Louise, and Alison. They are both strong dynamic and kind women who enjoy the opportunity to give back. Louise volunteers in the SES in NSW, and Alison volunteers in women’s legal service.

Photo Caption: Lyndall De Marco (centre) with her daughters Alison (L) and Louise (R)

What is your proudest achievement whilst working at St John Ambulance Queensland?

The ‘Eye’ van last year alone treated 703 patients across Queensland. This van is the first of its kind in Australia. It has been an extraordinary journey, with over 7,000 patients treated, mostly complex cases receiving their specialist services by our volunteer world-class ophthalmologists, completely bulk-billed to Medicare with ‘not out of pocket expenses’. Patients have been treated in Victorian and Queensland communities, close to home and in collaboration with Emerald and Gladstone Hospitals which have utilised The IDEAS Van to conduct their ophthalmic outpatients’ clinics since 2019.

Is there a particular woman that has inspired you the most and why?

My hero is someone who I was fortunate enough to take tea with several years ago. The first woman President of Ireland Mary Robinson. She made many reforms during her tenure including the decriminalisation of homosexuality, the legalisation of contraception, the legalisation of divorce, enabling women to sit on juries, and securing the right to legal aid in civil legal cases in Ireland. She became United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. An example of someone who used her influence to make the world a better place.

This year’s IWD23 theme is #EmbraceEquity, what does that mean to you?

“Equity is essential for us to live in peace. If we embrace equity, we are taking the first steps in forging a life that matters – to our family, our workmates and the community.” – Lyndall De Marco AM