Who Are the Lions?
Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club. There are approximately 1.4 million Lions Club members with clubs in over 200 countries and geographical regions. Lions Clubs International was started in 1917 by Chicago businessman, Melvin Jones. Jones brought a group of friends together to provide service to the community. Jones’ philosophy was that a group of business and professional leaders could do more for the community by working collectively than they good by working as individuals. The history of Lionism supports the wisdom of his philosophy. In 1927 Helen Keller spoke at a Lions Clubs International convention and asked the Lions to become “Knights of the Blind” Since that date the primary focus of Lions has been on serving the needs of sight and/or hearing impaired individuals within the communities we serve.
In 1969 Lions clubs in Washington State organized an Eye Bank at the University of Washington to provide corneal tissue for cornea transplants. This is now one of the largest eye banks in the world. Since its’ inception, the Northwest Lions Eye Bank (now known as SightLife) has provided thousands of corneas for transplants – enabling individuals who were previously blind to be able to see.
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