Maybe it’s the blatant injustice of it. Or the realization of a child’s utter vulnerability and the consequent responsibility of a community to respond when a personal crisis erupts. But when disease or an accident afflicts a child, Lions jump to the forefront. We build ramps and buy vans for kids disabled in car crashes and football games, hold benefit dinners for kids stricken with cancer and rare diseases and purchase sophisticated, expensive devices for children with long-term health problems. When tragedy occurs, Lions are there to provide life-saving aid, lessen the pain and inconvenience, and offer the comfort that comes from unsolicited, unflagging community support. Often it doesn’t take huge financial support to make a big difference. Logan Moran was born with a host of health problems including a seizure disorder and two cataracts. Delivered in an emergency caesarian section after a doctor discovered he was no longer moving, he did not open his eyes for two months. Even after cataract surgery, he was in danger of not ever seeing. Tiny, handcrafted glasses were needed to stimulate his vision and preserve his sight. The Fall River Carousel Lions Club in Massachusetts provided the special glasses last year to the family when Logan was five months old. Teresa Pimentel, his mother, noticed the difference in him as soon as he wore his glasses. “He was a totally different baby. He was moving a whole lot more. It was a whole new world for him,” says Pimentel. Doctors still can’t say whether Logan, who turned 2 last month, will have normal vision or low vision. His overall long-term prognosis also is uncertain. But the seizures are under control and he’s more active, grabbing at a toy that produces a drum sound. “I could listen to that beautiful sound all day,” raves Pimentel. Hayley Pelletier, 8, was born essentially blind. The optic nerves of the suburban Chicago girl were undeveloped. Her left eye saw only light. Her right eye could see objects at 20 feet that other children could see at 2,200 feet. So she was learning to read Braille and use a cane. Then her mother, Heather, a 911 dispatcher, learned of a stem cell treatment in China that might help. (The stem cells were taken from umbilical cords after healthy births, hence these were not the controversial embryonic stem cells.) A year ago Hayley was treated in Hangzhou, China. Today she can read large type and even tie her shoelaces. Among many other supporters, the Chicago Montclare Elmwood Park Lions, along with the Chicago Logan Square Lions, contributed support. “It’s been incredible,” Heather told the Pioneer Press. “Basically, her whole quality of life was just bumped up 110 percent. She’s so much happier.”
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