The Advance Australia Award for Community Service speaks of the outstanding contribution Gabi Hollows has made to eye health, not only in Australia, but also in some of the most disadvantaged communities on earth. An inspiring and dedicated woman, she has followed in the path set by her late husband Fred Hollows. Their tireless efforts have given sight to hundreds of thousands of people since the Foundation’s inception in 1993. She is also recognised as one of Australia’s Top 100 Living National Treasures.
In 1976 Gabi Hollows joined the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program. The program was initiated and led by Fred Hollows and sponsored by the Royal Australian College of Ophthalmologists and the Australian Government.
For three years, Gabi and Fred worked with Australian Aboriginal people visiting over 465 remote Aboriginal communities.
Gabi and Fred were married in 1980 and had five children however since Fred Hollows' death on 10 February 1993, Gabi has worked tirelessly for The Fred Hollows Foundation (which was formally launched by Hazel Hawke on 3 September 1992).
Gabi Hollows is a Founding Director of the Board, Patron of the Miracle Club and the public face of The Foundation. Following her earlier work in the field, Gabi remains passionate about and committed to The Foundation's indigenous health projects. Through her work with The Fred Hollows Foundation, Gabi has been awarded an Advance Australia Award for Community Service, a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International and has been named as one of Australia's 100 Living National Treasures. When Fred became sick with cancer, Gabi exuded Fred’s vibrant spirit to help build The Fred Hollows Foundation, while still running a household of young children and taking care of her husband.
Since Fred Hollows’ death on 10 February 1993, Gabi has continued to work tirelessly for The Foundation. Gabi is a Founding Director, Patron of The Miracle Club and the public face of The Foundation. Just five weeks after Fred’s death Gabi travelled to Vietnam to reassure Vietnamese ophthalmologists that The Foundation would continue Fred’s work there. “Fred understood 'right and wrong' and hated bureaucracy. He did not like to waste time. His nickname was 'fearless Fred'," says Gabi.
Following her earlier work in the field, Gabi remains passionate about and committed to The Foundation’s Indigenous Health Program. “If he's (Fred) looking down on us from heaven up top he'd be so excited that we've kept our promise."Through her work with The Foundation, Gabi Hollows has been awarded an Advance Australia Award for Community Service, a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International and has been named as one of Australia's 100 Living National Treasures.
In 2003, she was awarded a Centenary Medal by the Australian Government and received a District Toastmasters Award. Gabi is also Patron of other organisations, including Blenheim House, (the oldest house in Randwick), Cottage Hospital at Lightning Ridge and The Life Force Foundation. Gabi is particularly passionate about children and education and has a close association with Rotary. A truly inspiring individual with a selfless commitment to helping many thousands of people through her foundation, Gabi Hollows is hugely admired.