Lions on vision quest

LIHUE — Sandi Sterker of the Koloa Lions Club said it is important for people to understand what an organ donation does and the impact it has on other people’s lives.

Sterker and representatives of other Lions Clubs on Kauai recently marked the month of March as Eye Donor Month.

“People need not have perfect vision to be an organ donor,” Sterker said. “They can donate their cornea. There are so many different types of organ banks, and it is important to donate organs of any kind.”

The Hawaii Lions Eye Bank and Makana Foundation was started by the Lions of Hawaii in 1980 and recovers and provides transplantable tissue to the people of Hawaii. Since its inception, the HLEBMF has helped more than 5,150 residents regain their sight during the past 35 years.

“The Lions are of things with eyes,” Sterker said. “We have numerous other programs such as the Vision Van which has already made two stops since arriving here, the Sight Is Beautiful art contest where the East Kauai Lions Club presented 24 awards to students at the Elsie Wilcox Elementary School, and more.”

In addition to vision programs, the Lions do other work.

“The Lions were the first organization to train dogs to assist in other areas outside vision,” Sterker said. “Dogs now can ‘hear’ for people, and there are dogs who assist people living with diabetes. Their senses are so acute, they are able to detect when a diabetic’s blood sugar level starts to drop and alert its owner to the condition.”

Ashleigh Klein of the Project Vision said the Vision Van has made two stops since arriving here. Its first stop was during the Anahola Prince Kuhio Day celebration where more than three dozen people were given free vision screening and aids.

Monday, the van traveled to Nana’s House in Waimea, where more than two dozen screenings were done.

“There was this little girl who came for screening,” Klein said. “She got through the process and once through, realized that her grandmother needed glasses. They went home to get grandma who was fitted for her needs and came out, proudly waving her new glasses and having a big smile.”

The next stop for Vision Van will be 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 13 at the Church of the Pacific in Princeville.

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