Sailing Into History Lions showered Hilary Lister with champagne and presented her with a Melvin Jones Fellowship plaque when she finished her three-month journey. Lister wasn’t bothered by being doused with bubbly: she had just become the first paraplegic woman to sail solo around the coast of Great Britain. Lister sailed into Dover last August at the control of Me Too, a 20-foot carbon fiber boat. Lister, who can move only her head, navigated rough seas on 40 day trips by sipping and puffing on three straws to control the boat. “I’m just a bit on the tired side. I’ve seen everything from whales in the Irish Sea to basking sharks, seals, puffins and gannets,” she told reporters at her final stop. Lister, 37, made the epic journey to raise awareness of disabled sailing and to raise funds to support the sport. An athlete as a child, she slowly lost the use of her body from a degenerative disease. Plunged into despair, she had considered suicide until she discovered sailing. In 2005, she became the first quadriplegic to sail solo across the English Channel. A Lion, Lister was greeted by Lions of the British Isles and Ireland at ports. They helped her with accommodations and meals and donated to her cause. Lister raised nearly $47,000. “Hilary is an inspiration, a beautiful person on the inside as well as out,” said Bob Prebble, who with fellow members of the Thanet Lions club met Lister in the port of Ramsgate. Said Yvonne Medlen, her sponsor for the Whitstable and Herne Bay Lions Club, “She really is an amazing woman. She has inspired people with similar health problems not to give up but take on new challenges.” Lister lives near Canterbury with her husband and Lottie, her chocolate Labrador. Lister had to call off her sail in August 2008 two months Into it because of terrible weather and technical problems with her boat. But she resumed it in May 2009 and finished the trip. She sailed clockwise along the coasts of Cornwall, Wales, the east coast of Ireland, Scotland, the Caledonian Canal and then the east coast of England. Four people in a boat crew and three on land supported her. Lions were with her at nearly every port, too. One of her last stops was in Grimsby. “I was absolutely overwhelmed by the turnout. I think there were members of every club in the district as well as district governors past and present,” Lister wrote in her blog. “Not only had every club given us money but they passed a bucket round at the end of the night and collected even more. As people who had already put their hands in their pockets once they were also incredibly personally generous.” Lions in Korea aren’t hesitant to put on their work boots and gloves. Members of the Sae Suncheon Lions Club ( bottom photo) did home improvement projects for poor families in Soonchun City. Lions repaired roofs, cleaned homes and even did the laundry. They also dropped off groceries. Not to be outdone, members of the Daegu Young Won Lions Club (right photo) renovated a center for the mentally challenged and seniors living alone. The sheep got a free haircut, and the Lions received a hefty donation. The Collie Lions Club in Australia held a community shearing day at Lion Peter Piavanini’s farm. About 200 shaggy sheep were trimmed of their wool. (Shearing doesn’t hurt a sheep.) Shearers, who donated their time, came from far and wide to assist the Lions. Shearer Bruce Jackson, a Collie Lion, came from just down the road. The sale of the wool bales benefitted the club. Lions and their children enjoyed the farm ritual. “The sounds and smells of the shearing shed are far removed from the normal life of most members of Lions, who are struck behind a desk,” Peter Blurton, club president, told the Collie Mail. Something else riveted their attention. One of the ewes, quite unexpectedly, gave birth to a lamb. Banga City Smile Lions in India gave new meaning to Candy Day. They distributed treats to 120 schoolchildren. But the Lions nourished their minds as well by passing out school supplies. 4 ASIA INDIA 5 EURASIA RUSSIA THE SIDMOUTH LIONS CLUB in ENGLAND donated a vital signs monitor valued at more than $2,500 to a local hospital. THE KEMPSEY LIONS CLUB in AUSTRALIA donated at FrontRow sound system, which amplifies a teacher’s voice so each kindergarten student can hear the lesson. Lions, Lioness and Leo clubs in MANGALORE, INDIA, hosted a health fair. Days of Fun and Learning It’s impossible to find a van with a wheelchair lift in St. Petersburg, Russia. So the St. Petersburg Great Bear Lions Club enlists military academy students when driving children with disabilities around the city. Lions take the children to museums, parks, movies and the theater. Founded in 2003, the club has 20 members. It also supports sports programs for children, assists families of soldiers killed on duty and advocates for disabled children to government officials. Russia has 17 Lions clubs with 268 members. Kids with Cancer Forget Troubles Families in New Zealand rocked by cancer steel themselves by saying that while you may not be able to increase the quantity of a sufferer’s life you can improve the quality. Hence the name of Camp Quality, held in five locations each year around the country. Supported by Lions, Camp Quality is for children ages five to 16. Often grappling with pain and isolation, the children are treated to loads of fun and companionship. Activities include visits to water parks and zoos, go-carting, jet skiing, and even helicopter and tank rides. The campers have a healthy companion to assist them with basic tasks if needed and simply to be a friend. “Basically you take over the role of a guardian and look after them 24/7,” says Rachel Wharry, 23, who learned of the camp when she helped create a keepsake book for campers at her printers’ job. Her colleague, Hannah George, 21, who lost her older brother and cousin to cancer, also signed on as a companion. Camp Quality gives a child a week away, says George, “from hospital visits and the realities of living with cancer.”
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