Touchstone Story–Fighting Breast Cancer

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Cancer is the leading cause of death around the world, and breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed kind of cancer in women. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime, but early detection can help save lives.

Brenda Tibbetts Lund of the Cayman Islands was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996. At the time, there was very little information about breast cancer available in Cayman, so Lund worked with the Tropical Gardens Lions Club of the Cayman Islands to establish an awareness program. The efforts of Lund and the Lions led to the area’s first annual 5K walk-run and awareness campaign, which was launched in 1997.

Carmin Godfrey of the Tropical Garden Lions Club said that the breast cancer awareness campaign “became our signature project, because it is an issue that is very dear to our hearts.”

Lund passed away in 1998, and the annual event was renamed the Brenda Tibbetts Lund Memorial 5K Walk/Run in her honor. Hundreds come out every year to support the event, support their community and feel empowered to make a difference.

“When I first found out I had breast cancer, I was very scared,” cancer survivor Becky Ebanks said. Finishing the 5K Walk/Run for the first time gave her a great sense of accomplishment. “My family walked with me. That was very important.”

The 5K is a visible sign of outreach, but it’s the conversations about cancer screening and awareness that happen because of the walk/run that really make the difference. As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Tropical Gardens club organizes community forums every October in all seven districts on Grand Cayman. Topics covered in these forums include breast health, self-exams, mammograms and risk factors. The Lions provide vouchers for free mammograms to as many as 600 women a year who otherwise could not afford the cost of the screening.

Since the program’s launch, “the frequency at which you find advanced breast cancer has dropped tremendously,” said Dr. Steve Tomlinson. “Most we’ve seen now are stage 1, stage 2 cancers, with a higher cure rate.”

In addition to local efforts, the Lions Clubs International Foundation has supported cancer-related grants with donations totaling more than US$4 million. About 13,000 women in Venezuela received breast cancer screenings after an LCIF grant provided a mammography machine for District E-1 in Venezuela. In Lebanon and Jordan, Lions helped to equip three clinics that screen approximately 10,000 women every year.

“Education is key,” said Ebanks. “Women need to know they can take control of their health.”

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. Don’t forget to share these stories with new members so they gain an understanding of Lions history!


Unveiling of Mahatma Gandhi Statue in Oak Brook

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Lions Clubs International President, Dr. Naresh Aggarwal, with the Consulate General of India Ms. Neeta Bhushan and Dr. Deepak Kant Vyas, Chairperson of Redberri Earth Foundation, unveiled a larger than life size bronze sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi at the world headquarters of Lions International in Oak Brook, Illinois on October 30, 2017.

Donated by Dr. Kant Vyas, the Gandhi sculpture is 5.1″ high. It is made of bronze and has been designed by world renowned artist Philip Jackson. The statue sits atop a white marble pedestal. The total height of the sculpture is 7.1″ and its total weight is about 2200 lbs. The Consulate in coordination with Redberri Earth Foundation and Mr. Deepak Kant Vyas family Foundation is planning for permanent installation of the sculpture at an appropriate location in Chicago to mark the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Dr. Deepak Kant Vyas, Chairperson of Redberri Earth Foundation, and Consulate General of India Ms. Neeta Bhushan

Mahatma Gandhi is fondly called the “Father of the Nation” in India. He was a legendary figure who led India to independence through peace and non-violence . Albert Einstein had once said about him “Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.” Mahatma Gandhi had inspired several world leaders including Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela. His philosophy has been a beacon of hope and peace around the world.

The Gandhi Statue will be on display at Lions Clubs International for the next several months before making its way to a yet-to-be-named permanent location downtown Chicago.

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization, with over 1.4 million members in 200 countries or geographic areas. Lions are devoted to serving the underserved in areas such as vision and blindness prevention, hunger relief, improving the environment, youth services, and diabetes prevention and awareness.


1st USA/Canada LEO Leadership Forum

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For the first time, Leos from Constitutional Areas I & II participated in a Leo Area Forum in New York, New York USA.  Lion Pablo Romano led efforts to organize the forum and shares his thoughts on what made this event so special.


What was great about this event?

The best part of this event was the friendships that were made by Leos. These Leos arrived not knowing a soul in the room and made connections with Leos from other parts of the country.


What inspired you to lead this event?

As a former Leo, it was always my dream to develop an event where Leos from throughout the region could gather to learn, interact and have fun.



What was the most memorable part of the event?

The most memorable part of the event was the UN Women training that Leos received. Just to hear these young leaders talk about global issues was inspiring.


Check out this video which highlights the 2017 event.


Don’t miss out on upcoming international Leo events! For a list of events near you, check out the Leo events webpage.



Charity Navigator Four Star Banner

LCIF Receives 6th Consecutive 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator

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Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) is pleased to announce the receipt of our sixth consecutive 4-Star Charity Navigator rating, the highest possible rating awarded.  Only 5% of evaluated organizations achieve six consecutive four-star ratings, which means that LCIF exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities serving similar causes.  Founded in 2001, Charity Navigator is the largest and most-utilized charity evaluator in the United States. Charity Navigator examines the financial health, accountability and transparency of charities to determine its ratings.

LCIF’s 4-star rating indicates that it consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way.  For many years, it has been LCIFs board policy that all administrative expenses be covered by income generated from investments.  In practice, LCIFs investment income covers both administrative and fundraising expenses.  This means that 100% of donations received by LCIF go directly to the causes we serve.  LCIF receives no portion of Lions Clubs International club dues.

For more information, we invite you to review Charity Navigator’s analysis of LCIF here.


Donate to LCIF

Since LCIF’s founding in 1968, more than US$1 billion in grants have been awarded.  This has been made possible because of the generosity of Lions and partners, and due to LCIF’s fiscal responsibility. Donors can be confident that funds entrusted to LCIF will support initiatives that impact communities and change lives.



Touchstone Story–Musical Lions

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Where can you hear a lion sing like a bird?

Lions Clubs International founder Melvin Jones said that some of the earliest club meetings could be quiet affairs until someone broke out into song.

“It seemed to me that the meetings were pretty dead until we limbered them up with song,” said Jones, who sang tenor. “Everybody talked business with his neighbor at the luncheon table, and when that subject was exhausted, he just shut up and kept his eyes on his plate. A few rounds of ‘Tipperary’ and ‘I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl’ ended all that.”

In 1926, Songs for Lions, the first official Lions Clubs International Songbook, was published. The songbook included reworked, Lions-themed lyrics to popular tunes like “Ain’t We Got Fun,” as well as an original composition called “Don’t You Hear Those Lions Roar?” with music and lyrics by Lions Joseph W. Thurston and Robert Kellogg of Hartford, Connecticut. Voices rang out in convention halls everywhere:

He makes his home in a jungle den
He feeds on meat and also men
King of beasts, he kills and preys
He’s the lord of the forest
Til he end his days.
Roaring, he bites ‘em!
Snarling, he fights ‘em!
Monarch of all he surveys.

You should hear those Lions roar
Their snarling, rumbling roar
So roar, Lions! Bite ‘em! Bite ‘em! Bite ‘em!
Don’t you hear those Lions, hear those Lions
Hear those Lions roar!

Sharing the joy of music is also part of how Lions serve. Whether it’s the Calgary Lions Club of Alberta, Canada, providing symphony tickets for students from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, or sponsorship of an annual music festival in Victoria, Texas, Lions have given their communities the gift of song throughout the years.

Lions are still known to break out in song today. To emphasize his chosen theme, Strengthening the Pride, Joe Preston of Dewey, Arizona, international president from 2014-15, told the 2014 International Convention in Toronto that “if we want to energize members, we have to touch their hearts.” Speaking about the importance of being a Lion and not merely attending meetings, Joe broke out into a song of his own composition:

Strengthen the pride through service
For causes worthy and just
Strengthen the pride through involvement
Belonging is never enough

Dig down deep
Let it go and roar like a Lion
Tell the whole world we’ll never stop tryin’

We are the Lions Clubs
We can’t be denied, no, no, no
So dig down deep and Strengthen the Pride

So, where can you hear a lion sing like a bird? It’s a bit of a trick question. The answer is, at a Lions club meeting, anywhere in the world.

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. They’re a great resource for promoting service at your club meetings!


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