Donor Spotlight – Guelph Lions Club
This story began in 1925. Helen Keller, a famous American and the first deaf-blind person to earn a college degree, spoke to the international Lions Club convention, inspiring its members to become “Knights of the Blind.” Since that time, Lions Clubs across the world have focused their service on prevention of blindness, sight conservation, and support of blind and partially sighted persons.
Fast forward to 2019, and you will find the most recent evidence of Lions’ good work in the state-of-the-art cataract microscope purchased for the GGH cataract operating room in 2016 thanks to a $115,000 donation. This new microscope allows ophthalmic surgeons to operate with the highest precision during surgery because it drastically improves their visual field, optics, and illumination providing outstanding image quality throughout surgery. Before the microscope, the Club was instrumental in bringing the first laser for eye surgery to the Hospital.
One of the prominent figures in the Guelph Lions Club is James Sanders. Jim has been a Lion for over forty years, joining while he worked for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Jim was with the CNIB for forty-two years, retiring as its CEO in 2009.
Jim, legally blind himself, is strongly dedicated to the Lions’ primary mission. He and his fellow Lions members have been involved with the Club’s guide dog program, helped businesses develop more inclusive transportation services and technology, and worked with the University of Guelph to implement the BlindSquare GPS-enabled system. They are particularly proud of the Club’s commitment to Guelph General Hospital to ensure that the Hospital has the best equipment available for eye care.
Jim says, “It would be challenging to find another institution that matches the Club’s focus on preventing blindness and treating pathologies that might lead to the loss of sight.” Guelph’s ophthalmologists tell him that the Club has had a definite impact on their ability to perform more surgeries locally and to achieve more positive and precise results. The Guelph Lions Club has a steady stream of revenue from its Rogers TV Bingo and Jim says that they are always looking for volunteers to help on Wednesday evenings.