Gary Helsing The 64-year-old Dwight Lion in Illinois went from tragedy to miracle, while finding his purpose in life. Optic Neuritis I’ve had multiple sclerosis for 30 years and had some vision troubles. One day in 2011 I was driving and I suddenly had double vision, then everything went dark. I had optic neuritis—my optic nerves were no longer attached. I was totally blind. Devastation Hits In the past I had been on a ventilator, in a wheelchair and learned to walk again. But blindness made my whole world fall out from under me. One evening in the hospital I just started crying. I was angry and overwhelmed. A nurse said I would be OK, but I didn’t believe her. Finding a Purpose When I went to my first Lions club meeting, things changed. They welcomed me with open arms. I was struggling, but I wanted to do something. Later, after the Lions helped me receive my Leader Dog, Hoosier, I brought her to meetings. I got the idea I could go out with Hoosier and fundraise. I showed people that we can all do good. That nurse was right. Miracles Happen It was Good Friday, 2013. I woke up, rolled over and saw Hoosier for the first time. I screamed! I saw the carpet and realized I had chosen a good color. I saw the tulips in the yard—I had forgotten about them. Seeing was scary. I didn’t leave the house for days. I finally went to a Lions meeting and they applauded me. From that day forward, I wasn’t afraid. Better than 20/20 I went to a specialist, and he said he had never seen anything like this. New optic nerves had regrown. With a light prescription I have 20/15 vision! A Readjustment I had to relearn everything. One day I was trying to peel potatoes. When you’re blind, you learn a rhythm to things and I just couldn’t find the rhythm. I closed my eyes and peeled them perfectly. I still do it that way! Still His Best Friend I was worried I would have to give Hoosier up. But they let me keep her. She’s retired, but she’s still always there for me. Paying it Forward In my will I left my home to the Dwight Lions. When it’s time to leave the Earth, I want the Lions to use the money to help more people get glasses, hearing aids and Leader Dogs. Volunteers for the Dwight Zoning Appeal Commission Enjoys shooting and fishing in his sportsman’s club Gave his talking watch to an elderly man
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/One+of+Us/1881961/237959/article.html.