Story of the Week: Lions Change Lives in Mexico – One Pair of Eyeglasses at a Time
In just about any dresser drawer, most people have a pair of old eyeglasses that they no longer need. That’s why we started the Lions Recycle for Sight program. Lions recycle used eyeglasses and distribute them in developing countries during medical/humanitarian missions. This week’s story from Rachael Martinez, a Lion in District 25A, shows how this act of kindness can change someone’s life.
In February, 36 volunteers from the Midwest traveled to Iguala, Mexico. Working with local Lions members, as well as volunteer student nurses and optometrists, our goal was to fit as many people with eyeglasses as possible.
We set up our clinic in a city park – it resembled a tent city. Actually, it was a wonderful park that was newly finished, in anticipation of our mission.
We had stations throughout the park to keep the process flowing. Patients registered, then went to acuity, auto-refractor and eyeglass selection, before moving forward to visit a doctor. Many patients required more thorough exams due to cataracts, glaucoma or other eye-related problems. Our team of doctors patiently attended to their needs.
The mission was a success, and we served more than 6,600 people in the 5 days our clinic was open. Many people traveled for hours, with the hope of receiving eyeglasses and being able to see – many for the first time. It was pure joy to see their wish come true.