We have two upcoming fundraisers that benefit Lions in Sight and other local charities.
The Art Lawton Memorial Golf Tournament will be on Friday April 1st at the Los Positas Golf Course. This nine hole event is $75. Registration is at 8:00 and the shotgun start will be at 9:00. To sign up please call Ted Fichter at 925-227-6617 or Truman Howard at 925-787-2565 to play or if you are interested in helping sponsor this event.
Mark June 17th on your calendar for the Demshar’s annual “Summerfest.” This party at the Demshar’s in Stockton is $35 per person. It features vendors donating wine, rum, lemoncello, cheeses, sausages, tequila tastings and much much more. Live music and a silent auction are part of this fundraiser for Lions In Sight and two other nonprofits that Dr. Demshar provides eyecare for We will have more to come as we get closer to the event.
If you are interested in going on a Lions in Sight mission in 2017 note that the following clinics are completely full : Cabo and Nepal. There are still openings for technicians for all other clinics except Zihuatanejo in Feb. Doctors are still needed for all other clinics except for Aquascaliente in August. If you are interested in going on a trip please check for the latest updates on the Lionsinsight.org website. If you are interested as going as a tech please contact Dr. Bill Iannaccone and if you are a doctor please contact Dr. Demshar.
Please let them know if you are interested in going on a future mission as we sometimes get cancellations and we just might find an opening for you! Please remember that Lions from our member clubs have priority in going on missions.
If you are interested in being a technician on any of the clinics please contact PID Bill Iannaccone at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are a doctor and are interested in going on a clinic mission please contact Dr. John Demshar at email@example.com .
If you are interested in going on a clinic that looks like it is full, please contact the appropriate person and let them know. We do have cancellations and clinic spots come open every once and a while. It is always best to plan a clinic trip in advance as the air fare is usually much lower when you book in advance.
The new schedule for 2017 has recently been posted. We have 6 clinics to Mexico and one each to Nigeria, El Salvador, Panama and Nepal.
The way the four day clinics are normally set up is for the group to arrive on Saturday or Sunday, work Monday and Tuesday, rest and sightsee on Wednesday then work on Thursday and Friday. On the 4 day Mexico clinics arrival is late Thursday afternoon or early evening ,work Friday and Saturday and then return on Sunday.
On either the 4 day or weeklong clinics travel can be extended after the clinic to sightsee.
The 2016 clinic schedule has recently been completed as our Ghana clinic was wrapped up on Nov 26th. We successfully completed 8 clinics to Mexico, and one each to Peru, Panama and Ghana, for a total of 11 clinics. A total of 18,260 patients were seen by 61 doctors and 104 Technicians. These are record highs in all categories. If you are interested in going on one of the missions look on the web site for the dates and contact Dr. Bill Iannaconne if you are interested in going as a tech or Dr. John Demshar if you are a Doctor.
We are also helping locally assisting the RAM Project with glasses in Reno, Oakland, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Oakland. We also work with Project Homeless Connect in San Francisco and help with Military Stand Downs in Pleasanton, Salinas, Ventura, Eureka and most recently in Antioch.
With all of these clinics we need as much help as you can give us in collecting glasses. Recently the San Martin Lions Club was able to get permission to collect glasses in the Dollar Stores. This led to almost six thousand pair of glasses including a lot of the readers we always need.
Once again the Multiple District Four schedule was set up for Lions in Sight to have a room on Friday. Since we cannot get a quorum for a board meeting on a Friday we again had a program. Dr. Iannaccone presented what we do both in California and overseas, where our glasses come from and where they go. We also had a booth is the display area.
Since we were not able to set up the board meeting we instead had an Executive Board meeting at Dr. Bill’s house in Concord on Saturday February 20th to review the financials, nominations for officers, future meetings and a couple of needs.
The next two meetings will be the Annual Meeting which will be at Zio Fraedo’s restaurant in Vallejo on Saturday June 11th with lunch at noon and the meeting starting at one o’clock. The Fall Retreat will be on Friday September 30th and Saturday October 1st at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.
We are a little out of sync since the meeting we missed is the one where we are supposed to present the slate of officers. The Nomination Committee headed by 1st Vice President Walter Griffin is working on the slate and we will publish it on the web site as soon as it is done and send it out to the officers and directors.
If it looks like we are going to have a continuing conflict with use of rooms at the Multiple District Four Convention we may need to look at changing the By Laws to match the reality of our scheduling.
At the Executive Board meeting we recommended the purchase of five new lensometers for use at the prisons and warehouse. These will be the newest machines, capable of reading progressive bifocals as well as any other eyeglasses we receive.
Three of the machines will replace the older models at Avenal Prison, one is slated for Lancaster Prison and the last one is going to the warehouse to replace the one there that is now being used in a prison, replacing one that broke.
We will also be getting new machines with the new prison that is coming on line in Nevada. Those are being covered by a grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation.
As a result of our recent invitation for clubs to join Lions in Sight we have twenty-three new member clubs in California. Welcome, or in some cases welcome back. Since the mailing in Nevada just went out a few days ago we are still waiting to hear from our Nevada Clubs.
Our new member clubs are: Bethel Island, Burbank Noon, Delta, El Camino, Enterprise, Escalon, Garrotte, Gravestine Sebastapol, Grass Valley, Kings, Lions of West Marin, Livermore, Napa Berryessa, Oakley Delta, Oroville Ophir, Rancho Santee, Reedley, Round Mountain, Saratoga, Scotts Valley, Scot Valley, Sonoma Valley of the Moon and Sunnyvale Host.
We value all of our clubs and welcome their participation. Welcome or welcome back to the new clubs. If you need collection boxes or a program on Lions in Sight, please let us know.
MY LIONS TRIP TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
By Arthur Low, O.D.
Almost every year for the last 11 years, I have made a Lions In Sight trip to Latin America in November. But this year is the first time the destination was not in Mexico for me. Actually, there are 10-11 trips every year sponsored by LIS and usually 1 or 2 are in countries other than Mexico. LIS has held eye clinics in Africa, Turkey, India, Philippines, Peru, Panama, and many other countries. In fact, there will be a trip to Ghana in 2016. Every trip is unique and the team has to be flexible and work with whatever the situation dictates.
This year’s trip was a big one, consisting of 8 optometrists and 13 technicians/translators. One of the volunteer translators was Cynthia Dodd, principal at Rolling Hills Middle School and City of Campbell Planning Commission member. Her fluency in Spanish came in handy and this trip was her second one with me. Another couple from this area was Chris and Lee Morris from San Jose. But instead of two clinic days, we had four clinic days with one day off in between. It was a very successful clinic in that we saw 3900 patients and dispensed over 3000 pairs of eyeglasses. But the team faced some challenges.
First of all, when we surveyed the clinic site the day before set up, the place was filthy, with bird droppings on the floor, and very dusty. We were not even sure that the few electrical outlets worked. Good thing that we had a drought in California and were used to flushing the toilet with buckets of saved shower water because that was how it was done there. By the next day, the local Lions had done a credible job of cleaning the place but still no running water. And there was electricity only some of the time to power the fans to cool us down in the 85 degree weather.
The main issue on day one of the clinic was that LIS had sent 7000 pairs of eyeglasses to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic a week before the clinic but they were still stuck in customs. Luckily, there were a few hundred pairs of eyeglasses left over from the Haiti trip in March 2015. So some of the morning patients had to come back to get dispensed the proper prescription. Luckily, the eyeglasses arrived in the afternoon.
We probably saw a few hundred school age children and most of them had good vision and did not need a prescription. However, when told they had “good eyes,” they had this long face and were disappointed. After waiting all that time in line, they wanted something. Fortunately, I had brought some pens with me to give them and we also had some non prescription sunglasses for them as well.
As with the clinics in Mexico, there were many older patients who had never had any eyecare whatsoever so many reading glasses were dispensed. In fact, we almost ran out of some powers. One disappointing fact was that the local Lions were not able to arrange for cataract surgeries for those who needed it and there were a few dozen people who could have used it.
The nice thing about going on Lions In Sight clinic trips vs trips arranged by other groups is that we are hosted by a local Lions Club who are responsible for feeding and housing us. The accommodations are usually adequate, about 3- stars, and the food pretty good. But on this trip, the food at the restaurant in the hotel was NOT good. It was salty and the meat was almost like beef jerky. One day, we went into town to find better food instead of eating at the hotel. And guess what, there was an upscale Denny’s there. Boy, did that grand slam taste good! And the bathroom was like one at a 5 star hotel.
The major negative incident on this trip was that one of the docs had to stay almost an extra week recuperating in a hospital. Usually the worse illness that happens on these trips is a couple of days of GI distress either from too much tequila or drinking non bottled water. All of us got mosquito bites but Dr. John Demshar got bitten by one that was carrying the Dengue Fever virus. He started getting sick on the last day of clinic and most of us decided to stay an extra three days after the clinic at a resort in Puncta Cana, about 3 hours away by bus. When his symptoms did not get better and his temperature stayed at 102, he was taken to a nearby hospital where the diagnosis was quickly made. Since the disease was caused by a virus, there were no antibiotic drugs to help. Treatment consisted of an IV drip to hydrate the body so that the immune system can better fight the virus. The hospital was actually quite nice because we were out of Santo Domingo and in a resort area that caters to “gringos.” In case you were wondering, the stay at the hospital was paid by Lions In Sight, another good reason to go with them. It was also very nice of one of the techs, Paul Wagner, a retired school administrator, to stay with Dr. Demshar until he was stabilized enough to travel. I am sure that Dr. Demshar will soon be going on more trips in the coming year.
Please visit lionsinsight.org to learn more about these trips and don’t forget to save your used eyeglasses to donate to us. We have collection boxes at the Campbell Denny’s on 2060 South Bascom Av., my office on 621 East Campbell Av. and soon in many local Starbucks.
Lions in Sight is not only collecting and disturbing eyeglasses to developing countries, but we are now actively involved in more community events.
We are providing new eyeglasses and readers to the Veterans through the concept of the “Military Stand Down.” For several years, Lions clubs have provided the meals. Lions in Sight is now working with the Veterans Administration with vision care and have been able to assist 350 veterans at each of the stand downs.
We have been involved with the stand downs in Ventura, Pleasanton, Santa Cruz and Watsonville. On Friday through Sunday, 11—13 September 2015, we will be assisting with the stand down in Antioch. In order to participate, you must apply for clearance. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Dr. Bill Iannaccone at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, you must be have a clearance prior to participating in this great event.
On Sunday, 13 September, Lions in Sight is sponsoring the breakfast for the veterans and we will need Lion volunteers also. Please contact, Walter Griffin at email@example.com, if you are interested in cooking and or serving breakfast.
Lions in Sight continues to work with the Lions Center for the Visually Impaired, the Homeless Shelter in Stockton and the Homeless Connect in San Francisco in providing new readers at their vision screenings.
Lions, we need your continued support in collected used eyeglasses. We are distributing over 400,000 pairs a year on our missions to Mexico, Peru, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Armenia. Last year, we were down in our collection numbers, so please, get a collection box. Remember the boxes are free.
The warehouse continues to be open on the 1st Wednesday and Thursday of every month in the evenings. Arrangements can be made for club, zone or region sorting project. This is an easy way to meet new Lions, introduce potential members to a fantastic hands on project.
Remember, to collect those used eyeglasses so that you can help give the gift of sight to the world.
Walter C Griffin
Lions in Sight of CA/NV
1st Vice President