I love fall. It has always been my favorite season of the year because it is so dynamic and full of change. Don’t get me wrong; coming from the upper plains, spring is always welcomed because it signals the end of what is usually a cold winter. Summer is wonderful because the days are longer and full of potential growth and bounty. Even winter has its special moments because of the holidays and time for quiet reflection. But fall energizes me in ways sometime difficult to fully explain because it signals the time of harvest, the beginning of another school year, the arrival of new students, and a chance to begin anew.
For Lions, fall is a time for rallies, training, planning for the attainment of goals, and the strengthening of the pride! Already, Lions around the world are completing the first quarter of the 2014-2015 year; and from my vantage point, this fall, Lions are energized to make a difference in this world.
One initiative making a difference, and calling for a harvesting of bounty, is the One Shot, One Life Measles Initiative of Lions Clubs International Foundation. This LCIF initiative will protect tens of millions of children in the world’s poorest countries against measles, a highly infectious disease that kills an estimated 430 people every day, mostly in developing countries.
According to LCIF reports, for less than US$1, a child can be immunized against measles for life, making the vaccine potentially the most cost-effective health intervention available. Saving the life of a child for $1 seems miraculous. One can only wonder how many lives we can save together. If we harvest all of the bounty available, we surely can reap the immeasurable joy of saving a child’s life.
Lions Clubs International has committed to raising US$30 million for immunization programs by 2017, when our organization celebrates its 100th anniversary. The funds raised by Lions will be matched by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, bringing the total to US$60 million.
Kathy and I made One Shot, One Life our designated LCIF project this year. We encourage you to support this international initiative and send your donations to Lions Clubs International Foundation, 300 West 22nd Street, Oak Brook, IL 60523-8842. Every single dollar makes a difference in the life of a child. The value of this gift is priceless.
Jesse Sherik Benefit
Another initiative reflecting the ongoing commitment of Lions around the world to be Knights of the Blind is a local fundraising/service project sponsored by the Fargo Lions Club, founded in 1921. Members of the Fargo Lions Club were among the first Lions in the upper plains to learn of Helen Keller’s call in 1925 to become the knights of the blind in the crusade against blindness. For over 90 years, the Fargo Lions have taken on this mantle of knighthood and are now seeking to raise $15,000 to help a young man who needs assistance. The project involves a spaghetti supper, silent auction, and raffle on Saturday, September 27th from 4-8 pm to pay for the artificial iris implant and related medical expenses for Jesse Shirek, a new member of the Fargo Lions Club.
Lion Jesse has a deteriorating eye condition that, if left untreated, will leave him totally blind. He will undergo a complex series of five surgical procedures in his one remaining eye including a cornea transplant, an artificial iris implant, lens implant, glaucoma shunt and vitrectomy that will save and potentially improve his eyesight to a level about which he could only dream. The necessary medical procedures are not covered under Jesse’s health insurance due to the medical trial status.
The Lend A Hand Program of the Dakota Medical Foundation is matching up to $5,000 in funds raised. Cash or check gifts payable to Jesse Shirek Benefit Fund may be directed to: Gate City Bank, 3100 25th Street S, Fargo, ND 58103; or online donations may be made to: http://www.dakmed.org/lendahand. Click DONATE and enter gift amount for the Jesse Shirek Benefit Fund or go to http://www.youcaring.com/teamvision.
As we move into another fall season, I wish for all Lions around the world to reap the harvest and experience success in their efforts to make a difference in the lives of those in need. As we approach our centennial, the theme rings true: “Where there’s a need, there’s a Lion!”
–Lion Robert Littlefield
International Director 2014-2016