THE LIONS CHANGED MY LIFE A Burden Lifted Corbin Tingesdal has been through a lot for a three-year-old. Diagnosed with the rare genetic condition aniridia at two months old, Corbin has no irises, suffers from other vision complications and is at risk for conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts and even childhood kidney cancer. Corbin’s parents, Lacie and Chris, had a growing burden of worries about how they could financially ensure ongoing medical care and a healthy home environment for Corbin. But word spreads fast in their small community of Stewartville, Minnesota. When the Stewartville Morning Lions heard about the Tingesdal family’s plight, they made Corbin the recipient of their annual Taste of Italy benefit in 2010. In this town of just under 6,000, more than 700 people attended and the Lions raised $46,000 for Corbin. The caring and support felt that night by Corbin’s family was enormous. Lacie Tingesdal still carries that in her heart. Q & A:Lacie Tingesdal Lion Magazine: How did you feel when you found out the Lions would hold a benefit for Corbin? Lacie Tingesdal: Overwhelmed to say the least. I felt so truly blessed to be part of this community. LM: What was that night like for you? LT: It was extremely emotional. We helped with the setup that day, and I remember my husband and I taking a break to catch our breath—and share a few tears. We were watching strangers drop off donations, and were so taken aback by it. We just wanted to somehow let everyone know how grateful we were. LM: That’s nice that you helped out with your own benefit. LT: We wanted to help in any way possible. After the event I joined the Lions and was chair of the food committee for the 2011 Taste of Italy. What a job! It makes me even more grateful to those who helped with Corbin’s event. LM: What difference have the funds made for your family? LT: It was as if a burden was lifted. We were able to make home modifications like installing tinted windows and custom blinds that help with Corbin’s light sensitivity. We paid off medical debt that not long before we thought we would just drown in. We have more of a sense of security for Corbin’s future. LM: How does Corbin handle his condition? LT: I worry constantly, but he never fails to amaze us with how independent and confident he is. He doesn’t let his aniridia hold him back at all, so as parents we try to make sure it doesn’t. We’re teaching him to be a strong advocate for himself and never stop believing what he can achieve. LM: Corbin probably won’t remember the benefit. What will you tell him about it? LT: I can’t even begin to fathom how I’ll describe that night to Corbin when he’s old enough to understand. How do you put into words the gratitude that was brought forth by so many people? Lions: have you heard from a beneficiary or a recipient of your kindness, service or charity? Tell us about the feedback you receive from those whose lives you’ve changed for the better. E-mail a brief description of your correspondence to email@example.com. Please include “Thanks and Appreciation” in the subject line.
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