Saturday in Cascade, twenty-six volunteer Lions and friends put in over 100 total hours at the Idaho Special Olympics Winter Games to screen the eyes of 98 athletes. Just over half of the athletes received new glasses or updated prescriptions and another 30 plus scored a pair of new sunglasses. Wow!
If you've never volunteered at this event, you are missing an amazing experience. It may look chaotic to the uninitiated as the athletes wind their way around the room, stopping at each station for various screenings and tests by the volunteers, optometrists, and ophthalmologists: color blindness, depth perception, visual acuity, refraction, glaucoma, and more. But the room is actually very organized and humming along smoothly; all the volunteers and doctors are working swiftly to assist as many athletes as possible.
Many athletes are sporting their medals dangling around their necks; others show off their ribbons and tell you about their race or floor hockey game. One young man speaks of his snowshoe race-he had difficulty seeing the finish line because of double vision-there were two finish lines, he says. Another athlete isn't wearing his medals but has them in his pocket-they don't go with the sport jacket and bolo that he is wearing to the dance. Another ponders whether the girls will think him handsome with his new glasses.
If you want to be a part of the next Opening Eyes event, contact Curt Kelley at 859-3642 and get signed up now. The next event is in May in Boise.
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