People who support Eversight are often connected to our mission because they have given or received the gift of sight. Our Lions and Lioness volunteers have always been a pillar of support, not because of their own donation stories, but because of their commitment to the people in the communities they serve.
“For us, everything we do is about how we can help people and make our community better,” said Bill Sutton, an 11-year veteran of the Lakewood Area Lions Club and member of the Eversight Lion and Lioness Advisory Council. “That includes supporting Eversight and encouraging everyone to become an eye, organ and tissue donor.”
Together with Eversight, the Lions are dedicated to the preservation and restoration of sight. Their passion has been one of the driving forces behind our organization since the beginning. It was the Lions who provided the momentum to found Eversight Michigan in 1957, when there was no eye bank to fulfill a dying man’s wish to donate his corneas so others may see. It was the Lions who stepped up to take over operations of the eye bank in New Jersey during the 1980s, before it joined the Eversight network.
The Lions also partnered with Eversight Connecticut to provide vision screenings to more than 6,000 kids in the New Britain School District, and purchased an O.R. microscope for Eversight Illinois that allowed us to begin processing DMEK tissue.
Lions provide oversight on State Committees, through the Eversight Lion and Lioness Advisory Council and as Eversight Board members. They also promote sight in their communities independently, providing vision screenings to children and at-risk groups and educating the public about the need for eye, organ and tissue donors.
“The Lions have always provided extraordinary support to Eversight,” said Kevin Ross, Eversight President and CEO. “Our organization would not be the same without their volunteerism and guidance. They are incredibly important members of the Eversight family.”
The Lions’ contributions to Eversight have inspired many staff members to join their ranks, become members of their local Clubs and even serve as Club Presidents in some areas. Earlier this year, two of our very own were recognized for their outstanding contributions to Lionism.
Kara Kelly, Manager of Professional Relations at Eversight Illinois, received two prestigious awards in recognition of her leadership and dedication to the Lions community: the Lion’s International President’s Certificate of Appreciation, the fourth-highest award in Lionism, and the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Kelly, a longtime Eversight Illinois employee, has been an active member of the Rockford Noon Lions Club for more than 15 years.
Eversight Connecticut Executive Director Ryan Cady received the Melvin Jones Fellowship award in appreciation for his support of the program that expanded vision screenings to all students from prekindergarten through eighth grade in New Britain. The New Britain Lions Club went from screening 453 kids in a year to more than 6,000.
“I’ve been involved with eye banking for 22 years, and being a Lion has been the greatest way to connect with our community and make sure everyone has access to the sight-restoring services they need,” Cady said.