THE LIONS CHANGED MY LIFE Uplifting an Adventurous Spirit Whether it’s riding a horse, cross-country skiing or speeding around on a roller coaster, 13-year-old Grace Grell is game to try it. This creative, hardworking seventh-grader exuberantly takes on any challenge that comes her way. Grace doesn’t mind that she may sometimes have to work a bit harder than her peers to meet her goals. Neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition she was born with, caused small tumors to grow on her optic nerves. She was diagnosed as blind at age 3. When Grace miraculously recovered some of her sight, her parents, Charles and Polly Ann Grell, were astonished and grateful. Recently, their gratitude extended to the Cold Spring, Richmond, Rockville and Cold Spring Home Pride Lions clubs in their Minnesota community. A desktop magnifying device has enabled Grace’s grades and confidence to soar, and she’s more unstoppable than ever. Q&A: Charles Grell LION Magazine: You never thought Grace would regain any vision. How did that happen? Charles Grell: She underwent 18 months of chemotherapy to stop the tumors from growing. There was never any expectation that she would see again. Six months later, we were driving and she said something about seeing a bird in the sky. I didn’t think she actually saw anything. But the next day the doctor confirmed that she could see. We consider it a miracle. The doctors can’t explain it. LM: What is Grace’s vision like? CG: She’s legally blind, but she has pockets of vision. We think it’s something like having a piece of cardboard with a hole in it in front of you that you have to move around to see everything. She knows she has a disability, but it doesn’t slow her down. She serves as her own advocate, and her positive attitude impresses everyone around her. LM:What difference did the magnifying device make for Grace? CG: It’s just amazing to me that Grace maintains over a B average. She studies really hard and loves to read, write—she received the highest grade in her class for a short story! And it all started with the device the Lions gave her. As soon as she started using it, her grades went up. She started truly enjoying reading. She was able to use it both at school and at home, so her overall learning improved so much. LM: And that helped boost her confidence? CG: Yes, it’s helped her feel she can do anything. She is a talented artist, loves to swim, plays piano—we can barely keep up with her! She has such strength and courage. One of her teachers recently told me that she’s the first student with a disability he’s ever had who has never used it as an excuse. I couldn’t be more proud. Lions, has your club heard from a recipient of your service or charity? Tell us about the feedback you’ve received from those whose lives you’ve changed for the better. Email a brief description to email@example.com. Please include “Thank You” in the subject line.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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