Tuesday, October 19, 2021

White Cane Day for Lions Club

Toys for Tots. Submitted

Toys for Tots. Submitted

More than three-quarters of a century ago Helen Keller was the principal speaker for the Lions Clubs’ annual conference in Chicago. At the time the Lions were a group of businessmen who met for social reasons only. Helen gave them a challenge-“I make you my “Knights of the Blind”, she said. Since that time, the Lions International is the largest non-profit civic group in the world, and their main purpose is to meet the challenge Helen Keller gave them many years ago.

One of the ways that Lions members have of raising money is their ‘white Cane Day’, named after the walking stick blind people use to find their way without assistance. On Saturday, February 6th, they will be out in force in their bright yellow bests asking for your donations. These funds will be used for a number of programs, some directly helping sightless persons, such as guide dogs and Braille reading and writing instruments. Others are research for cataracts, glaucoma and other debilitating eyesight conditions, to improve treatment and the eventual end to these problems.

Your local Lions are actively involved in many activities for the early detection of eye and hearing problems. We join with the two Naples and one Bonita Springs club for screening of pre-school children for sight and hearing deficiencies. Last year we screened 1,200 children at day-care centers in our area. We join these clubs also, as we did last Sunday at Immokalee, for screening of adults and children. The tests performed by our members are for sight, using standard wall charts, the Sure-Sight machine, glaucoma machine, pressure-testing equipment, and the pediavision screener. We also test for diabetes, one of the leading causes of blindness. The information is given to the patient and for those not meeting the standards, there is a referral system advising they get further professional treatment. We provide eyeglasses, examinations, and treatment for those unable to afford the cost.

All our equipment is bought with Lions club finds, with your donations and grants being the source. Of course, all Lions are volunteers, including a number of professional eye doctors and surgeons. Thousands of hours are spent each year in these endeavors, and the white cane donations are a good part of our funding for these purposes. We thank all who help our cause to eradicate health problems, and especially with your donation of used eyeglasses at our collection boxes around the island. I take special notice of the many businesses who place our boxes in prominent display, making last year’s total over 2,000 pairs of eyeglasses collected. They are sent to the Lions processing center and given to the needy in this and other countries.

Please look for us this Saturday and help our, and Helen keller’s cause. Give of your hearts and help to her ‘Knights of the blind’.

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