Lions Charity Burns Supper raises Marie Curie cash

Lions Charity Burns Supper raises Marie Curie cash Marie Curie Cancer Care has £450 to put to good use thanks to the generosity of everyone who attended the South Ayrshire Councillors’ Annual Charity Burns Supper 2013.

The event was Chaired by Councillor Ian Cavana, with the Immortal Memory delivered by Reverend David Gemmell, the Toast to the Lassies by Reverend Kenneth Elliot and the Reply by Reverend Fiona Ross recited To a Mouse.

It was a fun, informal and relaxed evening celebrating the Bard where Councillor Alec Oattes delivered the Toast to the Haggis and Councillor Bill Grant.

Councillor Sandra Goldie who helped organise the event said: “It was a great evening which has raised £450 for Marie Curie Cancer Care which I know will be put to very good use. I would like to thank everyone who made the evening such a success and helped us raise funds for such a worthy charity.”

Ontario Lions clubs to celebrate their efforts

Who let the Lions loose in Cambridge last weekend? More than 500 Lions, representing 54 clubs within District A-15, southwest and central Ontario, held their annual convention at the Holiday Inn.

Sponsored by the Galt-Cambridge Lions Club, members celebrated their successes of helping others, while planning for major worldwide projects of the future. Their challenge for the year is “Dare to Dream in 2013”.

Dr. Daniel Ayim, a past-president of the Galt-Cambridge Club and now the district governor, accompanied by his wife Afua, hosted the large convention.

The keynote banquet speaker, Marvin Chambers, from Fillmore, Sask., is a director of the International Association of Lions Clubs. He is the only Canadian on the 34-member board.

“It doesn’t matter where you live,” said Chambers, “you can contribute along with other men and women to help in our many projects to assist the blind, the hard of hearing, the sick and the needy.”

He joked about his home community of Fillmore by saying, “There are 278 people living in Fillmore right now, and when my wife Lynne and I get home, there will be 280 people there.”

Mayor Doug Craig addressed the gathering at a luncheon and praised the Galt-Cambridge Lions Club for assisting many local groups, from children with vision problems to seniors with special needs. He stressed appreciation from the city and its citizens for the $265,000 the local club has donated to Cambridge Memorial Hospital.

Delegates were amazed with the professional skill and quality of eight-minute speeches given by several district young people who have won honours in the Lions Club’s public speaking contests. Some of the students spoke in French.

One of the Lions’ major projects is supplying dog guides through the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides program. More than 2,000 dogs have been matched with people with vision impairment, the deaf and hard of hearing, epilepsy, autism and diabetic conditions.

Several recipients of the program were present with their dogs, and exhibited the great care and training of these very special animals.

Galt-Cambridge Lions Club member Don Gamble, 87, and his wife, Charlotte, were singled out for long-time service. Don has been a Lion for more than 61 years. He was a chartered member of the Granby Lions Club in Quebec, before moving to Cambridge in 1957 and transferring to the Cambridge Club.

John Woodside elected District 13D Governor

John_Woodside_District_GovenorJackson TWP, Ohio —John Woodside was elected to the position of district governor.  District 13D is comprised of 53 clubs located in the Northeastern Ohio counties of Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark and Trumbull at the Lions Clubs International District 13D Convention at the McKinley Grande Hotel in Canton, Jackson Township Lions Club.

Woodside has been involved in Lions Clubs for over 47 years.  He was a member five years in Shadyside, Ohio and 18 years in Toronto, Ohio.

He was transferred by First Energy to the Canton community in 1989 where he then joined the Jackson Township Lions Club.  He retired from First Energy in 1995.

Woodside and his wife Midge reside in Jackson Township. They have been married more than 52 years and have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Woodside was Toronto, Ohio Lions Club president in 1987-1988. He was Jackson Township Lions Club secretary for six years and Jackson Township Lions Club president in 2004-2005.

He has received the following major awards: 1988 Lion of the Year- Toronto club; 1988 International President Certificate of Appreciation; 1993 International President Award; 1999 Jackson Township Lion of Year; Melvin E. Jones Fellowship Award 2000 and progressive award 2008 and 2001 Knight of the Blind Award.

John Woodside was district cabinet secretary/ treasurer in 2005-2006.

He currently is District 13D, first vice district governor.  He has been the Jackson Township Club representative to the district’s Melvin Jones Eye Care Foundation since 1999.

He is currently Treasurer of this Foundation.  He has led the Jackson Township Lions in sight projects. He has helped the Jackson Township Lions Club be a leader in ‘Kid Sight’ eye screening of preschoolers and kindergarten students.

Louisiana Lions seek applicants for special-needs summer camp

By Carol Wolfram

Lions_Special_Needs_CampsWhen the first session of the Louisiana Lions Camp near Leesville was held during the summer of 1961, it was more than a place for crafts, cookouts and campfires; the weeklong camp on 170 acres of piney woodlands provided a place where a child with special needs was just another child — making friends, discovering new talents, having fun.

That unique sense of belonging and growth was experienced last summer by Emily Clark, now a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Little Oak Middle School in Slidell. “I didn’t want to leave,” Emily said, recalling the fun she had fishing, making crafts and honing her archery skills.

The daughter of Karen and Chris Clark, Emily is an enthusiastic child who especially enjoys social studies and aspires to one day become an actress or singer.
But even exuberant Emily had to admit she was a bit nervous before arriving at the Louisiana Lions Camp.

Born with neuroblastoma, Emily underwent her first surgical procedure to remove as much of the cancerous tumor pressing against her spine as possible when she was only five days old. The surgery was followed by chemotherapy, and the cancer was destroyed. Nonetheless, the tumor had caused orthopedic injury that would confine Emily to a wheelchair until, at age 3, she once again had surgery, this time as a Shriner’s Hospital patient, which enabled her to walk using leg braces. A related orthopedic surgery is scheduled for April 11, to allow time for recovery and rehabilitation in plenty of time for Emily to once again attend Louisiana Lions Camp session.

Emily said she will do whatever it takes to get back to Leesville. “When I was there, I didn’t feel like I was ‘the only one’ like me,” she said.

When this year’s summer sessions begin June 3, they will include:

One week dedicated specifically to youths with pulmonary disorders, ages 5-15.

Two one-week sessions for the mild mentally challenged, ages 8-19 (mentally challenged children must have an age level not more than four years below their chronological age).

Two one-week sessions for youths with diabetes, ages 6-11 and 11-14.

Two one-week sessions for visual, hearing and orthopedically challenged youths, ages 7-19.

Each applicant requires the sponsorship of a local Lions organization. Applications may be downloaded directly from the Lions Clubs of Louisiana website, www.lionscamp.org, or by contacting local Lions Clubs. Jerry Wilson is coordinating the efforts of the Slidell Noon Lions Club and may be reached at 646.2537; and Larry Chaudoir, the efforts of the Mandeville Lions Club, 626.8862.

While the camp is free, including transportation, the application process can be long and should be started as soon as possible.

Donations to support the Lions efforts also are welcome. A Life Membership costs $100, and can be purchased by contacting a local Lions Club member.

Wilson stressed that while the camp provides summer fun and enrichment for its campers, the week also provides a break for caretakers, parents and families.

Karen Clark encouraged families to give themselves the care they give day-in and day-out to their children.

“As much as the camp is about the kids, it’s also about the families. We all know it takes extra to care for a special-needs child. When they’re at camp, it’s OK to relax, focus on yourself, care for each other, and the other kids,” she said. Emily has a 13-year-old sister, Abigail, who is a seventh-grader at Boyet Junior High.

“Letting go is not easy,” Karen Clark admitted. “I’m so used to being around for her. Emily’s a very independent person, but to not be in the background, in case you’re needed, is a difficult thing.”

She said she was able to reach the point where she was confident that, whatever happened, Emily would receive the best possible care. “I had faith and confidence that all my concerns would be taken care of,” Karen Clark said. “I had to believe.”

Emily’s mother stressed that she never doubted for a second that her daughter would have fun at the camp. “This kid can have a great time wherever she is,” she said.

Emily encourages any child who might be considering applying for the camp to go for it. “Be confident,” she said. “It doesn’t hurt to try new things.”

$50,000 raised by New Zealand Lions

by Lin Ferguson

Hunterville_NewZealand Lions ClubIn a combined pledge, the Hunterville, Marton and Bulls Lions Clubs have raised $50,000 for a room at the new Ronald McDonald House being built opposite Wellington Hospital.

Hunterville Lions Club president Bernie Hughes said the three clubs in the Rangitikei region decided two years ago to make the pledge and raise $50,000.

“It is a very special cause, and we really wanted to get stuck in,” he said

The three clubs hope the name of the new room will be the Rangitikei Room.

Each club had held a major event to raise the money.

In early March, the Hunterville club held a 4WD rally across all the big sheep stations along the Napier-Taupo Rd.

“It was unbelievably successful. We completely sold out and could have easily sold dozens more tickets. Every station manager and farmer signed up … we were so well supported, it was just amazing,” Mr Hughes said.

The new, bigger, Ronald McDonald House will be able to house 34 families whereas the old house could only take 12 families.

The new house has cost the Ronald McDonald Trust more than $15 million and the call went out from the Wellington Trust for donations and pledges more than two years ago.

Ronald McDonald House is a “home-away-from-home” for families of children receiving medical treatment in Wellington.

The idea is that children respond better to treatment when their families are close.

The trust wanted to build a bigger house so it could accommodate a growing number of families and ensure it never had to turn anyone away.

They bought the land next to the existing house, just a short walk from Wellington Hospital.

The Ronald McDonald House Wellington Trust had pushed the green light for the project to start before they had secured the full funding, because they knew having the building under way was the best way to show they were serious about the new house.

Lions Planting future shade for Concordia

The Ysleta Lions ClubThe Ysleta Lions Club, Five Points Lions Club and Martin Funeral Home have teamed up to plant 250 trees in Concordia Cemetery. They kicked off the project at the cemetery March 15.

One of many goals set by the president of Lions Clubs International, Wing-Kun Tam, is to plant a million trees throughout the world this year.

The local Lions Clubs decided to undertake a project that would also help beautify El Paso, and in particular, the historic jewel of Concordia Cemetery, where many famous and infamous residents of El Paso are buried.

The clubs and the funeral home will plant 250 desert willow trees in the cemetery’s southern side, where they will be visible to people driving by on Interstate 10.

The clubs and Martin Funeral Home gave special thanks to Patricia Kiddney, president of the Concordia Heritage Association, and Charlie Black, the community projects director for Ysleta Lions Club.

Lemont Lions give local girl new look on life

Lemont, IL —

Lemont_Lions_clubAt 5 years old, Lemont resident Madison Wesolowski is fighting to hold on to her vision.

“She has been through about 28 surgeries on her eyes and has been declared legally blind in her right eye,” said her mother, Carlene Wesolowski. “She had her first pair of contact lenses when she was a baby.”

When Madison was just three months old her older brother told mom and dad he noticed something floating in her eye. It looked like a piece of popcorn, he told them.

So dad Bruce and Carlene took Madison to see a doctor, who eventually determined she had cataracts — a condition typically found in older people that causes a clouding of the eye lens — along with glaucoma, another eye condition that leads to damage to the eye’s optic nerve.

Trying times for sure, for the Wesolowskis.

Luckily, they Lemont family was able to reach out to an old friend. That friend is Ken Novak, who spends some of his time volunteering with the Lemont Lions Club. The Lions Club is an international club that “empowers volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding.”

But the club, which has 46,000 branches across the world and is head-quartered in nearby Oak Brook, is popularly known for its work to help the vision-impaired.

Novak and the Lemont Lions have stepped up for the Wesolowskis by purchasing eye glasses for Madison — she needs new prescription glasses every three to six months. The Lemont Lions are also trying to raise money to provide Madison with an iPad, which has an easy-to-read large screen for her.

“I have known Ken forever,” Carlene said, adding that she grew up with him in Lemont. “Ken introduced us to the Lions Club. They have been her rock.”

The Lemont Lions have been a rock. That’s shown through their 50 years of existence — on March 29 the club will celebrate its 50th anniversary — it was chartered in June 1962 — with a celebration at Crystal Hall Banquets, 12416 Archer Ave. in Lemont.

But it hasn’t always been easy for the Lemont Lions. The club disbanded four times, only to re-organize each time. The club now has 75 members and is running strong, Novak said.

While the Lions Club formed in 1917, it wasn’t until 1925 that the club established its vision to help the sight-impaired. That year, famous author and activist Helen Keller addressed the Lions Club at a convention, convincing the club to take on the cause, Novak said.

Since, though, Lions Clubs across the world have picked up other causes, including the hearing-impaired.

Doug Wright, Lemont resident and a six-year member of the Lemont Lions Club, said the Lions are there for whatever people need.

“We are the best kept secret around,” Wright said.

The Lemont Lions Club has done everything from helping at disaster sites, aiding in Habitat for Humanity, donating large print books to the Lemont Public Library and helping out with Lemont Police Department programs such as DARE and Seniors And Law Enforcement Together.

For more than 20 years, Novak has been a member of the Lemont Lions Club. His family was always involved with activities in Lemont, as his mother was involved with the VFW Ladies Auxiliary.

“I started to do my family tree and found I had relatives with visual problems and thought the Lions were the best to join,” Novak said. “It meant something to me to help those who are visually or hearing impaired.”

Throughout his time as a Lions Club member, Novak said he has continued to come back each year because he can see the difference he is making in people’s lives.

“As you go along you get the tug on the heart strings when you see you are making a difference,” Novak said.

Lemont resident Paul Butt said he joined the Lions Club just recently because he wanted to keep the family tradition of being a Lion going. Butt’s father was a Lion for 40 years.

“I got to a point where (I said to my wife) what are we going to do, sit at home or get out and get involved?” Butt said. “I joined because I felt it was time to give back.”

Wright said before joining he had a “moment of clarity” where he looked around and was thankful for the healthy family and normal life he was living but knew there were others who weren’t living picture-perfect lives.

“I needed to give something back,” Wright said. “I truly do feel blessed to have a healthy and normal life and there are so many that are not. When you realize that you can do something to ease that burden, we don’t have a choice we have to help if we can.”

“The good thing about the Lions is that we are always doing something as a fundraiser and every penny goes back to the community,” Wright said. “We do so much stuff we are always poised for the next need.”

Novak said with the help of the Lions Club, it has been amazing to see the improvements in Madison’s vision from birth.

“I look where she was from birth and where should would have been today, just the quality of life we give, that’s what we do,” Novak said.

She Needed a Special Bike, Invercargill’s Lions Clubs Got One for Her

ALEX FENSOME

Getting her first bike was even more special for Cheyanne Richards than for other children her age.

The Invercargill 7-year-old was born with achondroplasia, a condition which causes dwarfism.

The $350 bike, donated by the Waikiwi and Invercargill East Lions Clubs, allow Cheyanne to exercise and get out and about.

Other bikes were either too small or had seats which were too high.

The bright pink machine was specially adapted for her. It is a big hit with the St Joseph’s School pupil.

“It’s so fast,” Cheyanne said, pedalling around the driveway of her Invercargill home.

The bike was presented by Invercargill East club president Joe Wilson and Waikiwi president John Warren.

It had been altered by Rob McMurdo, of Wensley Cycles.

Cheyanne’s mother, Desaray Richards, was blown away by the Lions’ generosity and her daughter’s reaction.

“I think it’s absolutely amazing,” she said. “It’s going to strengthen her so much.”

The bike would aid her recovery from surgery for her condition, she said.

Cheyanne’s physiotherapists, Mardi Postill and Marie Cruickshank, said she could now enjoy bike rides to Queens Park for exercise and to play with other children.

“She’s never even ridden a bike before,” they said. “She candevelop her fitness and strength and be like other kids.”

The bike had stabilisers for the moment, but there was already talk about Cheyanne doing the Surf-to-City bike ride next year.

Lions Clubs in Virginia helping Students Make beautiful music

By: Star-Exponent staff | Culpeper Star Exponent

Music rang out from Culpeper Baptist Church Sunday afternoonin in Culpepper VA.Music rang out from Culpeper Baptist Church Sunday afternoon.

No, it wasn’t a reverential church service, but an opportunity for musically inclined school students to show off their chops.

The Culpeper County Lion’s Club Bland Foundation concert sent two first place winners onto the regional concert March 17.

Mary Caroline Matricardi won first place in the vocal competition while Emma Ellon Butler came in second.

In the instrumental division, Madeline Clore took first place while Matthew Hudson came in second.

First place winners receive a $75 prize and second place winners receive $50.

“The concert was a great success this year. We had 17 contestants — up two from 15 last year,” Justin McFarland, past president and board of directors member of the Culpeper Mid Day Lions Club said. “The Lions Clubs in Culpeper have always taken great pride in the work they do to help foster young folks in our community. We are instrumental in sight and vision screenings in all of the public and private schools. We support the Leo Clubs (youth version of Lions) at EVHS and CCHS. Specifically the Culpeper Mid Day Club has budgeted nearly $13,000 for college scholarships in Culpeper.”

Winners of the Culpeper contest compete at the regional level from 1 to 4 p.m. March 17 at Gainesville Methodist Church.

It is important to instill a community spirit within our young folks,” McFarland said. “Lions understand that promoting service starts with the youth. This gives us a chance to show the younger generation that we can do something positive with our time and help others.”

Under the aegis of the Lions organization, the Bland Foundation has been providing performing opportunities as well as scholarships to gifted music students, both vocal and instrumental, since 1948.

The purpose of the foundation is to promote cultural and educational opportunities for the musically talented young people in Virginia (primarily of high school age).

This goal is achieved through progressive competitions, beginning in February, at the local Lions club level, and culminating in May in a competition among 12 finalists. The Bland Foundation oversees the running of the competitions and also provides $18,000 to the 12 finalists.

The scholarships must be used for college tuition, music lessons, summer music programs or other music education endeavors. As tuition and lessons are extremely expensive, the Bland Foundation provides needed assistance to these talented, hard working music students and their families.

The Bland concert in Culpeper was a joint collaboration between the Host, Dawn, 92 Lions and the Club-Culpeper Mid Day Lions clubs

Lions Clubs share vision to save children’s sight

Written by John English

lions_screenThe Highland Village, Flower Mound and Lewisville Lions Clubs are teaming up to secure new optical screening equipment to reduce the prevalence of visual impairment in children.

Dianne Ashmore of the Highland Village Lions Club said the device the organizations are looking to purchase is far more sophisticated then what they are currently using.

“We will be purchasing a SPOT Vision Screening by PediaVision,” Ashmore said. “It will allow us to screen in color rather than black and white. The screening readouts provided give more in-depth results due to the SPOT’s ability to discern differences between the pupil and the surrounding iris in very dark brown eyes and black eyes usually found in the Hispanic and Asian cultures.”

Ashmore said the black and white equipment that the organizations currently use for screenings has more difficulty discerning those differences.

“In addition, the SPOT can screen for more vision issues. The child’s results are sent home for the parent. If the child needs further eye exams, we are providing more complete info for the optometrists or ophthalmologist.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, vision disability is the single most prevalent disabling condition among children.

Statistics from American Optometric Association indicate that 25 percent of school aged children, 70 percent of children diagnosed with a learning disability, and 80 percent of juvenile delinquents have vision issues.

The Lions clubs currently staff screenings for young people for free, and Ashmore said getting this equipment is important for her because she has personally been affected by the problem.

“With a daughter that was diagnosed before she was two years old with Amblyopia (commonly known as “lazy eye”), I know what a difference it made for her to receive vision correction early in her life,” Ashmore said. “I want that chance for all the children in our community.”

The Lions Clubs have raised approximately $1,000 to date with the help of donations from individuals and businesses like PointBank, and the purchase price of the equipment is $11,000.

The goal is to reach this amount in four to six months.

Tom Hayford of the Lewisville Lions Club has been the driving force in getting this project underway and said the SPOT vision screening equipment is really extraordinary.

“Besides checking for strength and shape of the eye, the SPOT vision system checks for five major vision weaknesses including whether the eyes are working together,” Hayford said. “If a weakness is discovered in the preschool years, there are ways that optical professionals can take corrective action to improve the child’s vision.”