Mel Stephens is an independent 26 year old, horse-loving train tragic with no light perception and an addiction to cruises. Mel was a research participant in the Bionic Vision Australia project in 2013, so she was there at the inception and birth of the VROOM and OMO functional assessment tools. We have now done four VROOM and OMO ratings with Mel over a seven year period. The VROOM tool captured her decline from low vision to blindness from Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis. The OMO tool captured her dip in energy while living in the big smoke, then a return of energy as she moved to Mildura in country Victoria. In the process, she has become a valued research collaborator. This was helped by the fact that Mel lived independently in Lil’s back yard bungalow for a while, where we talked about research under the clothesline.