For over 20 years John Iacobucci, 73, has been making a very unique donation to the Eye and Ear Hospital – eye balls! John was first contacted by Dr Mark Whiting who was in looking for eye balls to support our Clinical Training. Dr Whiting was struggling to find someone to help as abattoirs do not offer this service.

The eye balls offer an irreplaceable opportunity to gain surgical experience prior to operating on patients, as they provide the closest similarity to human eyes.

John was born in Italy and moved to Australia in January 1968 at just 18 years old. He opened up his first butcher shop in Richmond and went on to open a second shop in Brunswick, but this was just the start of John’s long and successful career in the meat processing industry. John moved on to work in a management capacity for Bertocchi and then finally on to The Australian Food Group (formally named Perfect Pork).

It was during his time at The Australian Food Group that John connected with us at the Eye and Ear. After speaking with Dr Whiting and Dr Ehud Zamir, John volunteered his time to personally attend the abattoir in Laverton, extract and collect the eye balls, and then deliver them safely to the hospital.

“My mother had cataracts and received surgery to remove them, is my way of giving back,” said John.

“It can be a challenging and at times a dangerous task, but very rewarding as I know it is making a difference,” said John.

John has now retired from his role at The Australian Food Group and yet continues to support the hospital in eye ball retrieval. Just last month he collected and donated 400 eye balls!

We would like to thank John for his dedication and long service to the Eye and Ear, his generosity and passion has not gone unnoticed.