Oak Brook, Illinois, USA, June 23, 2015—Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO) are pleased to announce Dr. Virgilio Galvis Ramirez of Colombia as the winner of the 2015 Lions/PAAO Award in Blindness Prevention.
Dr. Galvis is the Director of the ophthalmic center that carries his name in Bucaramanga, Colombia. He is also an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga, and a pioneer in blindness prevention care for the low-income population in Colombia. Dr. Galvis created the Ophthalmologic Foundation of Santander (FOS) in 1979 with a mission to ”Help others to see” and to bring basic eye care services to rural areas where such services were not available. Additionally, the FOS Center has offered training courses on blindness prevention to national and international eye care professionals in partnership with the Christoffel Blindenmission (CBM) Foundation. During his term as Colombia’s Health Minister, Dr. Galvis spearheaded the integration of the VISION 2020 initiative into Colombia’s national eye care program goals. For these, and many more accomplishments, Dr. Galvis will be presented with the US$1,000 award during the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology’s XXXI Congress in Bogotá on August 5, 2015.
The Lions/PAAO Award in Blindness Prevention was created to recognize excellence in the field of blindness prevention. This award is presented on an annual basis to an ophthalmologist of the host country of the PAAO Regional Course or Congress to celebrate local efforts in blindness prevention. The award is made possible through the LCIF SightFirst program and consists of a US$1,000 grant and a travel budget.
“Through SightFirst, Lions have a long history of saving sight and preventing blindness. These successes would not possible without the hard work and accomplishments of ophthalmologists around the world,” said Past LCIF Chairperson Sid L. Scruggs, III. “We are proud to award this grant to a deserving individual who shares in our mission and has made an impact in preventing blindness.”
About Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF)
Lions Clubs International Foundation is the grant-making body of Lions Clubs International, the world’s largest volunteer service club organization. The LCIF SightFirst program, Lions’ flagship initiative, builds comprehensive eye care systems to fight the major causes of blindness and care for blind and visually impaired persons. Since 1990, the SightFirst program has helped restore sight to more than 30 million people around the world. Lions have raised more than $415 million to provide surgeries, to improve of hundreds of eye care facilities and train of thousands of eye care professionals. For more information, visit www.lcif.org.
About the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO)
The Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology was founded in 1939. The PAAO is dedicated to the prevention of blindness through lifelong education and cultural exchange among ophthalmologists in the western hemisphere. For more information, visit www.paao.org.
This year’s Presidential Theme encourages Lions to bring dignity to others through service, create harmony through effective leadership, and build bridges through humanity. Here are a few ways to join Lions around the world in celebrating “Dignity. Harmony. Humanity.”:
Learn more about the 2015-2016 theme on the LCI website, where you’ll find resources and tools to help you get started on this year’s initiatives, and watch the video above to see how Lions are changing lives everywhere.
Gavin was a college student when he first joined the Sydney Chinese Lions Club in 2006. He remained an active member until 2009, when he decided to pursue a career in China. Before he left, he spoke with club leaders about his desire to continue his membership. Lion Gavin promised to pay his dues on time and to return for club functions whenever possible.
The club agreed to let Lion Gavin maintain his membership. And so it went for six years. Sydney Lions would visit with Gavin when they were in China, and Lion Gavin would visit his club whenever he was back in Sydney, but he wasn’t around very much.
Every year, the Sydney Chinese Lions Club hosts a charity ball. This year, the club chose Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) as the ball’s major beneficiary. Lion Gavin adjusted his travel schedule so he could attend his club’s charity ball, which included a fundraising auction.
Of the six items on the auction block, what caught Lion Gavin’s eye was a Cartier watch. The bids rose steadily until they reached A$5,100. At that point, the auctioneer spoke directly to him. “Gavin, if you raise your bid to $6,000, there’s a good chance for you to win.” Gavin made a very generous donation that night, and his new watch will serve as a constant reminder of his home club and his good deed.
Even though his work has taken him out of Sydney, Lion Gavin remains an active and committed member of his Sydney Chinese Lions Club.
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