The Visionary - Spring 2015 - page 9

Spreading joy for the holidays –
LEITR staff gives back
he holidays were a busy time for the staff at Lions Eye Institute. Every year, the
Foundation hosts a Holiday Party for the students of Hillsborough County
School System’s Very Important People who are Visually Impaired People (VIP
program. This annual tradition allows the entire staff to be a part of something greater
and to give back to our community.
Because these children use their senses differently, they need unique toys with
special tactile and sound features. Each child creates a wish list for Santa which is
transformed into a special Holiday Heart. These hearts are hung in LEITR’s reception area and our staff chooses one child
(or more) to make their wishes come true. Filled with the spirit of the season, the LEITR staff set a new record for the
Holiday Hearts campaign! In less than 24 hours all of the hearts were taken and every child at the VIP² Holiday party
would experience the joy of the season.
On December 5th, we were honored to host nearly 100 blind and visually impaired students and their families.
The children spent time making crafts for the holidays, visiting with friends and, of course, sitting on Santa’s lap to
discuss a very important topic – their Christmas wishes. The highlight of the party was Santa and Mrs. Claus handing
out the special gifts from the LEITR staff.
Each Christmas present was met with big smiles, happy hearts and lots of giggles as the staff watched
their child tear into their gifts! To tell the truth, the experience was more heartfelt and meaningful to the
staff than it was for the children, proving, yet once again, that Lions Eye Institute has the best employees!
Every year, after the festivities, the tree from the VIP² party is donated to a needy family, so they,
too, can have a special Christmas. This year was no different. True to form, LEITR staff stepped up to the
plate and purchased the live tree, the lights and all of the decorations for the occasion, ensuring that a
family who did not have the means would be able to have a tree for their children. The tree was delivered,
unwrapped and placed prominently in the home.
It is very humbling to see the LEITR staff come together on a daily basis to give the gift of sight,
and yet, they are still willing to go above and beyond to make a difference in our local community.
Thank you
to each and every one of them who have unselfishly supported the Foundation.
Lions Eye Institute Newsletter |9
Thank you
for making
Eye Ball Gala Havana Nights
magine the spell of a warm tropical night. Savor the exotic
flavors of the Cuban cuisine. Dance to the sultry sounds
of the Latin rhythm. Try your luck at a gaming table in a glittery casino. This year’s Eye
Ball had it all as we traveled back to the “Forbidden City,” Classic Havana.
The evening celebrated of the
“Gift of Sight”
and the many lives you have helped
the Lions Eye Institute Foundation touch in our community and around the world. Held
at T. PepinHospitality Centre onNovember 8, 2014, with the singular purpose to change
the lives of the people we serve, the Gala was an incredible success! With the help of our
sponsors and you, our guests, we raised $152,000 to further the Foundation’s efforts.
The evening would not have been possible without the support and generosity of our sponsors who believe in
the Foundation’s mission and have compassion for the families that the Lions Eye touches every day.
THank you to Gorovoy
M.D. Eye Specialists, THe Bank of Tampa, LifeLink of Florida, Premier Eye Care, St. Luke's Cataract & Laser Institute,
Shumaker Loop & Kendrick LLP., THe Tampa Club, agtc, CliftonLarsonAllen, THe Eye Doctors of New Tampa, Faithful
Deliveries, Scotia Vision, Stephens Instruments, THrivent Financial, WUSF Public Media and Tampa Bay Metro.
During the gala we had the privilege to recognize two incredible community leaders for their impact in
the field of vision.
Lorna Taylor,
President and CEO of Premier Eye Care received our Light of Sight Award. Ms.
Taylor has been an integral part of this organization and a true champion of our mission.
Dr. Mark Gorovoy
, a
fellowship-trained, board-certified Ophthalmology sub specialist was honored with our Innovation & Research.
Dr. Gorovoy has been instrumental in perfecting partial cornea transplantation.
We heard the incredible journeys of three very special people whose lives have been forever changed because
of the great work of Lions Eye Institute;
Mrs. Dorothy Bernstein, Robert Perez
Elizabeth Price
. We thank
them for sharing their stories of courage, hope and determination. They continue to be an inspiration for our
fight to help people who are blind and visually impaired worldwide.
Thank you to everyone that attended the event. Looking forward to seeing you again this year!
Gala photo credit: Amy Pezzicara, Pezz Photo
a success!
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 10,11,12
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