Congrats to Peace Essay Contest Winner Joel Greek

At Lions Day with the United Nations on March 12, 2016, International President Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada presented a special plaque and a check for US$5,000 to 12-year-old Joel Greek from South Africa, for his winning Lions International Peace Essay.

The annual Peace Essay Contest encourages blind and visually impaired young people to express their thoughts of peace through the written word. The theme for the 2015-16 contest was “Share Peace.” Gordon Bay’s Lions Club President Jimmy Lang chose Joel’s essay as the winning piece for his Lions district.

Life has been challenging for Joel and his mother, who raised Joel on her own. The two of them live in a backyard in Cape Town. Joel had a brain tumor when he was 6 months old and had to go through chemotherapy. Doctors doubted that he would live past the age of 1. The tumor resulted in optic glaucoma, and he is now blind in one eye and has partial vision in the other. He has had tumors his entire life, including one that caused him to be hospitalized around the time he submitted his essay.

Despite all of this, Joel wrote in his essay, “I myself am a young boy with a disability, the only one in my family. Yet they accept me knowing I am capable of anything. We have an opportunity to change the world.”

You can read Joel’s full essay here.

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