Medals, Memories and Eyeglasses Athletes from around the world paddled kayaks, spiked volleyballs and hit home runs at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles this summer. Many returned home with more than medals and memories. They could see clearly for the first time in years after a screening and free eyeglasses. Or they could finally hear for the very first time after an exam and free hearing device. The Healthy Athletes program of Special Olympics screened nearly 80 percent of the 6,500 athletes. Lions helped staff the vision and hearing clinics at the University of Southern California. Many people with intellectual disabilities receive poor health care or no care, and Lions have partnered with Special Olympics for 15 years through the Opening Eyes program. The screenings at the Games led to magical moments that dwarfed in significance what happened in the pool or on the track. Six players on the Nigerian basketball team had never heard discernible sound, according to ESPN. They received hearing aids. When a 19-yearold center turned on her hearing aid for the first time, she smiled, laughed and then signed, “I hear sounds. I hear sounds.” Digital LION • Lions in California also helped with the lodging and transportation of Special Olympics athletes at the Games as well as organizing activities for them (June 2015 LION). Read the story at lionmagazine.org.
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