Blindness Awareness Month and World Sight Day, is Today Oct. 13

world-sight-dayThe Little Rock Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children who are blind or visually impaired initiated a bill into law establishing October as “Blindness Awareness Month.” Last year, Mayor Barnett proclaimed October as Blindness Awareness Month. Studies indicate that over 14,000 persons in Collier County live with blindness or significant vision loss. Although blindness and vision loss largely affects senior citizen; accident, disease, genetics and other causes can cause vision loss to persons of whatever age.

Those persons living with blindness or vision loss and their caregivers residing in Collier County and the City of Naples may now receive education, assistive technology, mobility and adaptive independent living training and a myriad of other support services locally from the only full service center in Collier County; namely –Lighthouse of Collier.

World Sight Day (WSD) is an international day of awareness, held annually on the second Thursday of October to focus attention on the global issue of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. World Sight Day is a day of awareness and urges the local community to observe personal eye health care and that the services of Lighthouse of Collier be made known for the assistance of the blind, vision impaired and their caregivers within Collier County and the City of Naples.

The mission of the Lighthouse of Collier is to promote the development, implementation and on-going evaluation of programs and services which foster independence and enhance the quality of life for the blind, visually impaired and their caregivers. To learn more about the Lighthouse of Collier please visit www.lighthouseofcollier.org or call 239-430-EYE4 (3934).

Stunning Success of Campaign Means Sight for Millions

By :Albert F. Brandel, President
The International Association of Lions Clubs

Albert F. Brandel, President The International Association of Lions ClubsThe Navajo Reservation in Arizona is beautiful, rugged country. The landscape matches the people. Many Navajo survive with little income yet they maintain a strong sense of community. Sadly, one thing their community often has lacked is vision care. Maureen and I were privileged to participate in eye screenings in October on the Navajo Reservation in Window Rock as part of World Sight Day. We were part of a very worthwhile effort that uncovered vision problems and distributed eyeglasses to those in need. (Lions also did diabetes screenings for Native Americans, Hispanics and senior citizens in Phoenix.) If you’ve ever been on a screening or mission, you know what it’s like to directly help those in great need. It’s just a wonderful feeling.

Maureen and I also recently were in Africa to observe Lions in action. We met with a grateful 26-year-old mother whose corneal transplant enabled her to see her two kids for the first time. Some people think I’m an unemotional police detective. But meeting that mother and realizing what the Lions did for her brought tears to my eyes.

Thanks to Lions, the world is full of stories such as the mother in Africa. We’ve also helped community after community meet its vision needs. Our main weapon in the fight for sight is SighFirst, of course, and the incredible success of Campaign SightFirst II will enable Lions to protect or restore the sight of millions. The $200 million we raised will bring sight–and the ability to live independently, to attend school, to work and to reach one’s full potential–to people in developed nations such as those in North America and in developing nations in Africa and Asia.

I want to thank all Lions who supported the campaign. Your generosity was outstanding. As always, Lions came through. It’s not easy to maintain your regular club projects and also support a larger cause. But club after club, Lion after Lion, put in the extra time and effort to ensure the campaign met its goal.

Now comes the part that makes the effort worthwhile–performing the operations and screenings, building eye clinics and hospitals, distributing medication and training eye care professionals, bringing the gift of sight to children and senior citizens and everyone in between. The campagin was a great success. But a year from now, two years from now and for many years to come, Lions will use these funds efficiently and effectively to restore sight and prevent vision loss for multitudes.