Global health problems can seem too big to solve, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But the longstanding Lions Club has been tenaciously working on one of those worldwide problems – vision – for decades.
And for more than 20 years, CSL Behring employee Margaret Anderson has been a local leader of the group, traveling near and far – all the way to Thailand – to help bring the world into focus, one pair of eyeglasses at a time.
So Anderson, who works as an operator in the Filling Department at the company’s Kankakee, Illinois, facility, and is a current member of the Bradley Lions Club, takes special pride in the 155 pairs of used eyeglasses the Kankakee staff recently donated during National Glaucoma Awareness Month.
The Bradley, Illinois, Lions Club will ship the glasses donated by CSL Behring employees to a Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center, where volunteers sort them, clean them and determine prescription strength. They’ll be among thousands distributed to developing nations.
Anderson said she has seen firsthand the life altering changes the Lions Club accomplishes each and every day around the world.
“Loss of vision is 80% preventable if people are provided access to an eye care professional, eyeglasses and eye surgery,” she said.
The World Health Organization estimates that more than 150 million people suffer from blurred vision due to uncorrected refractive errors, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. The inability to see clearly can prevent children from learning in school, adults from finding work or staying employed, and older adults from living independently.
The Lions Club took on vision and blindness prevention as its primary mission after a historic moment in 1925 when Helen Keller implored the group’s members to become “Knights of the Blind.” Anderson ended up making a little history of her own with the Lions Club in 1997, when she became the first woman member of the New Buffalo, Michigan, Lions Club. She remained the only woman member for five years until she encouraged one of her friends to join. Anderson then rose through the ranks of club leadership to eventually becoming president, another first, and went on to various district leadership positions.
In 2007, Anderson was elected to serve as a District Governor and was inducted at the 90th anniversary of Lions Clubs International Convention in Chicago and in 2008 attended her outgoing International Convention in Bangkok, Thailand.
“It is the highest level of leadership for a Lion to achieve and it has been the most rewarding experience of my lifetime to date,” she said.