Club shows the heart of a lion by helping others succeed
“We sponsor a camp for handicapped children, it’s one week long and it’s free, but besides that we give away food baskets, and we even purchased a bullet proof vest for a St. Charles Parish Deputy who couldn’t afford to buy it herself,” Billy Boudreaux, president of the organization, said.
“We work with anyone who has a need, but lately we’ve been helping people with eye problems and we’re doing our best to make a difference.”
Through their community service projects and fundraising efforts for the Louisiana Lions Eye Foundation, much-needed optical surgeries and expensive artificial eyes are purchased for the people who are desperate for them but can’t afford to pay for the procedures or the prosthetics on their own.
“In 2007, my retina began to shrink and eventually detached in my right eye,” Heather Breaux, lifestyles and sports editor for the St. Charles Herald-Guide, said. “After two failed surgeries, my eye continued to shrink, so I needed an artificial one.”
Breaux says she went to many funding sources but nobody would help.
“I have health insurance at work, but the company turned me down when it came time to buy the prosthetic because they said it ‘wasn’t medically necessary,’ and that it was more cosmetic than anything else,” she said.
"My self-esteem started to become affected because I was forced to keep my right eye closed and it would tear-up all the time. It looked deformed.”
Breaux then turned to a new funding source.
“A friend of mine told me about the Lions Club,” she said. “And she suggested that I call them to see if they could help.”
Breaux says not only did she receive her prosthetic, but she never saw one bill.
“I received my prosthetic on May 16,” she said. “For 20 minutes I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror, but when I did, I was very happy and felt like I had regained my quality of life back.”
The organization also plans on assisting Jances Simmons, the Hahnville High School freshman that was struck by a stray bullet while attending a party two weeks ago. The bullet eventually traveled around his head and lodged underneath his right eyelid.
“We will meet with his mother and find out what their needs are,” Juanita Landry, a club member, said. “There’s an application process that must be done before a person gets approved.”
When Breaux returned to the Lion’s Club, she was greeted with open arms by all of the members.
“We’re so happy to see that she’s better now,” Boudreaux said. “It feels good when someone comes back to us to show us the good things that we’ve done. It makes it all feel worth it.”
Besides helping to pay for surgeries, the club also sends eyeglasses overseas to countries packed with impoverished people.
“We take recycled eye glasses, refurbish them and send them overseas to Third World Countries for people who need them,” he said. “We also sponsor the Louisiana Crippled Chidren’s Camp, which is designed for special needs children.”
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