Lions Clubs International
Oct
16

Preston’s Blog: World Sight Day in Iceland

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The right tools make all the difference.

I recently had the pleasure of attending the opening ceremony of Lions World Sight Day in Iceland alongside the President of Iceland, Ólafur Grímsson (pictured above). As a part of the ceremony, and with the help of a US$70,000 SightFirst grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), Lions presented two amazing new pieces of medical equipment to the Department of Ophthalmology at Landspítali, the National University Hospital of Iceland.

This vision equipment will make it possible for ophthalmologists at Landspítali to detect and treat vision disorders and diseases in children at a much earlier stage, and will save time and money and prevent many children from developing irreversible eye damage.

Lions Clubs International

The opening ceremony was followed by an exhibition that was attended by more than 2,800 people, including 60% of all ophthalmologists in Iceland, and featured information on vision health and education. Lions from Iceland and around the world came out to showcase their clubs and share their service work with a special emphasis on SightFirst activities.

For decades, Lions Clubs International has championed the blind and visually impaired. Lions World Sight Day is an opportunity to reflect on our achievements as we continue to fight against preventable blindness. Only when working together can we hope to eliminate preventable blindness from our communities and around the world.

Join me in thanking the Lions of Iceland and LCIF for making this generous donation possible, and for making World Sight Day 2014 a huge success!

 

Be sure to follow me on Facebook to see more activities, projects and pictures from my trips around the world.

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Oct
15

International White Cane Safety Day

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In honor of today being International White Cane Safety Day, we are encouraging Lions to help raise awareness about the white cane. The white cane is a symbol of independence —it shows confidence and skills of the person using it. It also signifies that a person using a white cane is blind or visually impaired. This alerts drivers to give white cane users the right of way. Some project ideas that your club can do to help raise awareness include:

  • Contact your local traffic department to learn about local White Cane Safety laws. Use social media, local radio, television or news media to share the information with your community.
  • Work with a rehabilitation specialist to provide a white cane and appropriate training for a person in your community who is in need.
  • Organize a braille trail or sensory garden outing for adults who use a white cane.
  • Arrange for a person who uses a white cane to be a guest presenter at a community or club event.

The Hadley School for the Blind is conducting a live seminar about the White Cane at 10:00 CDT today (October 15). If you are able to participate at that time, be sure to register for the audio seminar. If unable to listen to this seminar live, you can access the recording of this and other interesting Hadley podcasts.

How is your club raising awareness for white cane safety?

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Oct
14

Sight for Kids

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Seeing Life More Clearly

Like millions of children around the world, Handapangodage Don Rusiru Harita Perera, a fourth-grader at St. Johns School in Panadura, Sri Lanka, did not realize his vision was poor. His father, A.D. Prasad Ranjan Perera, was also unaware of the visual impairment his son was facing. Childhood vision problems are a serious concern, not only because they are frustrating and interfere with learning and development, but because some conditions can lead to serious vision loss or blindness if not corrected early.

A powerful partnership

Fortunately, Perera took part in a Sight for Kids vision screening at his school. Sight for Kids, a program of Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, has screened over 20 million children in Asia since it began in 2002. The program screens children for refractive error and other vision problems, including myopia (nearsightedness), which causes significant vision loss in more than 15 percent of children under the age of 15 in many Asian countries.

A close call, but a crisis averted

“We are very grateful to the Lion’s program,” said Perera’s father. “The specialist told my son that he would have gone blind in one eye, if not for the timely medical attention provided by the Lions.” After multiple screenings, Perera was transferred to a hospital where an eye specialist for children patched his good eye. His vision was soon restored, almost matching his healthy eye. Lions also provided him with free glasses.

“This has made our lives happy, especially for all the service we received from the Lions hospital free of cost. We could not have afforded the specialist treatment, medicines and glasses,” said Perera’s father. “We wish all success to the Lions who are saviors of children’s sight.”

Learn more about Sight for Kids.

From LCIF: Our Impact Story Archives

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Oct
13

Strengthening the 201-N5 Lions Pride

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Today’s guest post comes from the Lions Clubs of Sydney and Norfolk Island, District 201-N5, about their Skills Sharing Expo that they hosted earlier in September. For more information on this event, check out their website.

On Saturday, September 6th, a Skills Sharing Expo of N5 Lions nicknamed Lions Got Skills was held at the Castle Hill RSL Club, Sydney. The Expo was a new initiative that DG Anthony of N5 introduced.

If done properly, this could benefit the District at two key levels:

  • Leadership – New Lions would be encouraged to come out from the wood work and be identified as future leaders.
  • Membership – Lions who get involved in the Expo may feel they have ownership of the event, thereby increasing their interest in Lions and a sense of belonging may be instilled in them.Photo 13

Participants could choose from one of two strands: skills sharing and health awareness. Over 100 Lions attended the sessions throughout the day, including IP Joe.Photo 16

The proceedings continued with a Gala Dinner in the evening in honor of the Prestons. Some 200 Lions, Lionesses and Leos attended the Dinner.

Lions in N5 were extremely grateful for the opportunity to play hosts to IP Joe and Lion Joni. Their visit has helped to reinvigorate ourselves and renew our resolve to serve the less fortunate.

 

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Oct
9

Preston’s Blog: Sight for Kids Reaches New Countries

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I was proud when our Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) partner, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Companies (JJVCC), announced the expansion of Sight for Kids from Asia to Kenya and Turkey during our International Convention in Toronto. Through this special partnership between LCIF and JJVCC, Sight for Kids provides vision screenings to schoolchildren who might not otherwise receive one. And if a child needs glasses or a visit to an ophthalmologist, the partnership provides for that too.

When Joni and I had a chance to visit Kenya in July, we knew we had to see the program in action. The Lions clubs of Kenya brought us to the Westlands Primary School in Nairobi where the Sight for Kids screening was being held. Through the combined efforts of LCIF and JJVCC, members of the Lions SightFirst Eye Hospital and Kenyan Lions, more than 300 children received vision screenings!IMG_9340It turned out that eight children needed eyeglasses, which we were able to provide for them. Joni and I even had the opportunity to give the children their new glasses. Their smiles really lit up the room. Thanks to Sight for Kids, their eyesight has been improved, along with their ability to read and learn in school.IMG_9359As we celebrate Lions World Sight Day around the world today, I can say firsthand just how valuable vision initiatives like the Sight for Kids program is. Be sure to watch the new Sight for Kids video to learn even more about the program and how it’s helping children around the world!

 

Be sure to follow me on Facebook to see more activities, projects and pictures from my trips around the world.

 

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