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Dave became a Lion in 1971; it will be 49 years in February. Despite relocating with his wife Sandy post retirement, he has remained a member of his original club, 22-D New Castle Hundred Lions Club for all these years. The goal he says, is to make it to the celebratory 50 year milestone there, and beyond. “It was my father-in-law,” Dave recounts “who initially asked me to become a member of the Lions Club. It was a natural fit,” he explains, as he was a member of his college’s service-based fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. “That experience in college is what turned me into the service-oriented person I am today.”

In 1984 Dave became District Governor, and in 1995, almost 20 years ago, Dave took his seat as a Board Member of Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley. Being a Lion is all about leading by example, building relationships and improving the world through kindness, and Dave does just that and then some. When asked about his motivation behind dedicating so much of his life to serving LEBDV’s mission he answered: “seeing firsthand the impact of providing someone with the gift of sight, that’s what this whole organization is founded on. Providing a service that is so beneficial to people. Giving someone their vision back, it’s incredible.”

In recent years Board Members have become even more involved with LEBDV’s events, and Dave is so thankful for this. He recalls attending his first Cornea Recipient Luncheon this past year and describes it as awe-inspiring. “Sitting down to have lunch and getting to talk with the family of a donor, and then getting a chance to meet with a recipient family, it’s really unbelievable.”

Continuing on the topic of getting to see the impact he has made firsthand, since moving to the Southern Delaware Area, Dave has teamed up with a group of Lions who build wheel chair ramps and accessible steps for handicap members of the community. “Just last week” he says, “we built a wide set of steps for a woman with her walker so she could easily go in and out of her house. When she opened the door, you could see the tears in her eyes when she realized that she is now able to get out of the house on her own.”

When Dave is not busy helping his community, he is spending time with his wife, Sandy, their 3 kids, 3 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren!

This is just a small sampling of all the amazing things Dave Jones has done during his time as a Lion and Board Member. Congratulations on celebrating almost 50 years Dave, we cannot wait to see what else you do!

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Don’s Legacy Lives On

My fiancé Don loved helping people. It was a part of him. He was the kind of person who would always ask someone how they were doing, it didn’t matter where we were. We could be at a grocery store or paying someone at a toll booth or a gas station and there would be Don asking, “How are you doing today?” If someone was wearing a name tag, he’d always address them by their name.

Don was a father, a grandfather, a brother, an uncle, a cousin, a friend, a trusted confidant, a leader, an executive, a man who feared and loved God, my soulmate and my very best friend. Everyone who encountered Don would have something positive to say after. He lived life to its fullest.

My Don was an accountant, smart as could be and very successful in his skill. His passion however was cooking, he could’ve easily been a famous chef at a Michelin star restaurant. His chocolate chip cookies were a crowd favorite and even though he’d share the recipe with people, we would hear those who attempted making it say they just couldn’t get those cookies to taste as good as his.

My life with my fiancé Don was by far the best years of my whole life. We met by chance 5 years ago and we were one of those stories where no matter where I was or where he was in our city, we’d run into each other several times, as though our guardian angels were purposely putting us together. I loved him from day one and never stopped.

I know if Don could speak to his recipients he’d say, I wish you happiness, amazing memories, joy, love and a world that can be a bit brighter now for you.

My Don’s passing wasn’t the end of our story. He will live in my heart forever. His legacy will carry on through the lives that he touched and the recipients whom he gave the Gift of Sight.

 
 

 

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Tyler’s Story

Tyler, a sophomore in High School and the youngest of four siblings, has always been a gifted young man. Born with bilateral congenital cataracts, he has never let his vision stand in the way of pursuing his passions.

Exceptionally musically inclined, Tyler can play the piano by ear and is always involved with his school’s musicals. Not even the pandemic could stop them from putting on a show, as they recently rehearsed, edited and produced a musical entirely over zoom.

Upon having his bilateral cataracts removed as an infant, everything went well with his right eye for over a decade, while scar tissue developed in the left. After years of his doctors removing the scar tissue in his left eye, Tyler developed glaucoma in the right eye. “I remember the moment I realized I had completely lost vision in my right eye,” Tyler recalls. I closed my left eye and held my hand in front of my right eye. All I could see was darkness.” In the spring of 2019, Tyler’s doctor determined the only hope or possibility of saving his sight would be through a cornea transplant. 

While the probability of saving his right eye was low, Tyler and his family never lost hope. “We pray every single night,” his mom, Bridget, explains. “The brain is a really powerful thing; if you lose hope, there’s no chance. If you keep hope, you can overcome even the most difficult of obstacles.”

After more complications and surgeries with his left eye, Tyler finally received a cornea transplant in his right eye in September of 2020. Christopher Rapuano, MD, Chief of Wills Eye Cornea Service and Retina Specialist Allen Ho, MD performed the surgery in the height of the pandemic. It was the first time Tyler could see out of his right eye since February of 2019.

“For the longest time all I could see when I opened my eyes was black or the brightest of lights. Right after my cornea transplant surgery, I opened my eyes, and I could finally see my hand in front of my face. I remember being able to see the wall and the trimming along it. That was huge,” Tyler recalls.

“We could not be more pleased with the outcome of Tyler’s surgery,” Dr. Rapuano happily says. Slowly but surely Tyler’s vision is improving. “My vision is getting sharper,” Tyler says. “I opened my eyes in the living room and I could make out the shapes of my furniture. Little by little it’s coming back!”

 

#FFF #FavoriteFriendFriday #DonateLife #GiftofSight #VisionRestored #corneatransplant #GrowingWithGratitude

 

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Svea Updates

Born with Peters Anomaly, at just 14 weeks old baby Svea had to receive a corneal transplant in her right eye. Two years later, Marjie and Brain shared Svea’s story and positive updates with the Eye Bank.

Now at six years old nothing can stop or slow Svea down! She started Kindergarten at a new school this year and absolutely loves it. Her favorite things include: gymnastics, dancing, swimming, and music. She especially enjoys listening to the Hamilton soundtrack!

“Her smile continues to light up every room she’s in,” Svea’s mom says. Her family (including her twin sister Emma and baby sister Charlotte) is so proud of her accomplishments and can’t wait to see what the future brings.

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Tony’s Legacy Lives On

Tony restored the gift of sight for two individuals and donated his organs and tissue.
 
Tony, husband of Shelley, father of Julie and grandfather of Colin and Maggie “was a beautiful and special soul” who continued to give even after his time on earth came to an end.
 
Tony met his wife Shelley in 1977 and they were married for 41 years. He spent his life giving back to those in need. As a Senior Disability Specialist, he spent his 33-year career advocating for the disabled. Tony felt most fulfilled and himself when he was able to give back.
 
Outside of work Tony loved listening to classical and rock music, creating beautiful art out of mosaics and watercolors, cooking, gardening, and hiking.
 
A survivor of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, Tony suffered from depression during the last 9 years of his life. “My husband faced a lot of obstacles in his life, but those problems are what made him different and so beautiful. He was able to triumph over incredible challenges.”
 
Shelley and her family feel good knowing that Tony’s legacy lives on through others. “Donation is a way to keep your loved one alive in a way while simultaneously helping others.”

 

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Grateful Recipient Fundraises with Facebook

Rubbing her eyes one morning because they felt dry, Anne immediately felt pain and discomfort. The rubbing caused a corneal abrasion in her right eye, one of the most common eye injuries.

Anne’s doctor prescribed different eye drops to increase the pressure in her eye and a special contact lens to cover the abrasion and stabilize the eye until her cornea transplant surgery. Meanwhile, Anne had to refrain from doing some of the things she enjoyed most like exercising and traveling.

A couple of years ago, Anne decided for her birthday to start a Facebook Fundraising Page to benefit Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley. She wrote a detailed post about her transplant surgery and asked her friends and family to support her journey and the Eye Bank. “What a blessing that we have organizations like this, making sure there are corneas for people like me who need them.” She included a picture that she drew of her eye. “And hey… while you’re at it… consider making sure you have signed what you need to sign to be a donor and that you have let your family know your wishes. It’s important. You can’t use them where you’re going anyway!”

Anne raised $900 for the Gratis Tissue Program, which supports individuals who need a corneal transplant but lack the proper means to get one. She also expressed her gratitude to the family who made the decision to donate their loved one’s corneas. “Thank you, thank you, thank you! It has given me the freedom to pursue doing the things I love. I can see my grandkids with both eyes and I thank you for that.”

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Jagdish’s Legacy Lives On

We are kicking off the New Year right with a very special Favorite Friend Friday highlighting a selfless donor and his family.

Jagdish Narula was a family man who put everyone else’s needs before his own.  After graduating from a prestigious engineering university in India, he moved to the US, joined shortly thereafter by his wife, Sushma, and their three young daughters.

“Even long after Jagdish left India, he helped many families back home,” his wife Sushma explains. “Two of my brothers passed away when their children were young. My husband supported them with their education and other needs. He also helped a family of 6 to purchase a home so they could move to a safer neighborhood.”

Jagdish was a nuclear power plant structural engineer who was devoted to his job and worked until the day he passed away. He raised his three daughters to believe they could do absolutely anything they set their minds to; all three grew up to be successful physicians.

“Jagdish and I were truly soulmates. We were like two bodies with one shared soul. All our friends used to tease us because we were never apart, always inseparable. When Jagdish left for his heavenly abode, my heart was shattered, but with the grace of God, I was able to think about other people’s suffering and decided to share Jagdish’s love through organ donation,” Sushma recalls.

“I come from a family of giving.  In 1988, my maternal uncle passed away in India. My older sister persuaded my mother to donate his corneas, in spite of resistance from the other family members. My family back home and our three daughters in America all advocate for organ and tissue donation.”

Sushma is well aware of the many myths surrounding organ donation and believes in dispelling these myths through knowledge. She raises awareness about the importance of organ donation and advocates for people to register as organ and tissue donors. If you would  give back during your life, why wouldn’t you continue once you are gone?

Through Jagdish’s donation of his corneas and bones, the lives of 163 people have been improved. Two people have been given the gift of sight with his corneas, and 161 people have been recipients of his bones, allowing them to have life changing surgeries such as dental implants and orthopedic surgeries.

“The recipients are blessed to have a part of Jagdish with them, a piece of the most intelligent, caring, selfless and kind man, who believed in justice, equality and love for all. They are truly blessed. His love has been spread to many and his legacy will be carried on by future generations of our family.”         

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Dave became a Lion in 1971; it will be 49 years in February. Despite relocating with his wife Sandy post retirement, he has remained a member of his original club, 22-D New Castle Hundred Lions Club for all these years. The goal he says, is to make it to the celebratory 50 year milestone there, and beyond. “It was my father-in-law,” Dave recounts “who initially asked me to become a member of the Lions Club. It was a natural fit,” he explains, as he was a member of his college’s service-based fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. “That experience in college is what turned me into the service-oriented person I am today.”

In 1984 Dave became District Governor, and in 1995, almost 20 years ago, Dave took his seat as a Board Member of Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley. Being a Lion is all about leading by example, building relationships and improving the world through kindness, and Dave does just that and then some. When asked about his motivation behind dedicating so much of his life to serving LEBDV’s mission he answered: “seeing firsthand the impact of providing someone with the gift of sight, that’s what this whole organization is founded on. Providing a service that is so beneficial to people. Giving someone their vision back, it’s incredible.”

In recent years Board Members have become even more involved with LEBDV’s events, and Dave is so thankful for this. He recalls attending his first Cornea Recipient Luncheon this past year and describes it as awe-inspiring. “Sitting down to have lunch and getting to talk with the family of a donor, and then getting a chance to meet with a recipient family, it’s really unbelievable.”

Continuing on the topic of getting to see the impact he has made firsthand, since moving to the Southern Delaware Area, Dave has teamed up with a group of Lions who build wheel chair ramps and accessible steps for handicap members of the community. “Just last week” he says, “we built a wide set of steps for a woman with her walker so she could easily go in and out of her house. When she opened the door, you could see the tears in her eyes when she realized that she is now able to get out of the house on her own.”

When Dave is not busy helping his community, he is spending time with his wife, Sandy, their 3 kids, 3 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren!

This is just a small sampling of all the amazing things Dave Jones has done during his time as a Lion and Board Member. Congratulations on celebrating almost 50 years Dave, we cannot wait to see what else you do!

Sign up for our
25th Annual
Gift of Sight Charity Golf Classic

Monday, August 12th, 2019