September 27, 1996

Lions turn up fund-raising heat for VCH eye center

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Dr. Denis O'Day (right) gave a tour of the future site of the Tennessee Lions Eye Center to several members of the Brentwood Lions Club recently.

Lions turn up fund-raising heat for VCH eye center

Members of the newly chartered Brentwood Lions Club and an international Lions Club officer toured the future site of the Tennessee Lions Eye Center at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital last week.

The group joined Dr. Denis M. O'Day, George Weeks Hale Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, for a tour of the area, which is currently under construction. They also visited the current pediatric ophthalmology area in the Medical Arts Building.

The new Brentwood Lions Club has 21 members and has pledged to raise $50,000 for the TLEC.

"The plans for the TLEC have been finalized and the Lions are raising money at a very rapid rate," O'Day said. "We are looking forward with great anticipation to the opening of this wonderful facility. We're tremendously excited about this partnership with the Lions and the unique opportunity to do something about the eye care of children in this state."

The Lions Club of Tennessee has launched a statewide campaign to raise an estimated $4 million to establish a pediatric eye center at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital dedicated to preventing blindness among the state's children.

James E. Ervin, Third International Lions Vice President, said he is impressed with what VUMC has to offer.

"I feel it is a good opportunity for the Lions of Tennessee to work in partnership with an outstanding institution such as Vanderbilt. I know this will be a very good and worthwhile project."

The TLEC will enhance the specialized pediatric ophthalmology services provided by VUMC. Although details of the center are still being developed, the services will include an outreach program to bring eye health screening into rural areas, O'Day said.

The commitment by the Lions Clubs of Tennessee through their foundation, Tennessee Lions Foundation Inc., will also help ensure that specialized eye care continues to be available for the state's children in the face of continuing uncertainty about health care delivery and financing, O'Day said.

VUMC has had a 25-year affiliation with the Lions, including the Lions Eye Bank and the Middle Tennessee Lions Sight Service. This extension of service will now provide full service statewide. The International Lions organization, in their long-term goal to prevent blindness, recently completed a three-year, $146 million fund-raising project called Sight First, designed to attack the causes of blindness around the globe.