Lions International is an organization known for providing glasses to those who need them. They have a program called Lions Recycle for Sight in which eyeglasses are cleaned, sorted by prescription strength, and packaged. Most of the recycled glasses are distributed to people in need in developing countries.
Members of the three Lions Clubs in this community – the McMinnville Lions Club, Warren County Lions Club, and Rock Island Lions Club – take donations all year long for thousands of eyeglasses to be distributed.
Recently, Warren County Lions Club provided Glenn Hensley with a $1,700 pair of special eyeglasses. Hensley, 22, has optic nerve damage that regular glasses and surgery cannot help. His special glasses have magnifying lens attached to the regular lens.
Roxanne Hensley says her son is slowly going blind. “Glenn has hydrocephalus which is water on the brain. He is not supposed to be living with this now. When he was 6 months old, the doctors told us he would never walk, crawl or anything. They think hydrocephalus damaged his optic nerve. Each birthday is precious because it is an extra year God gave us.”
Roxanne and her husband, Jerry, found the condition is genetic after the birth of their second son who died with hydrocephalus at age 6.
“I didn’t realize how bad Glenn’s eyesight was until he put these glasses on. It floored me. At the doctor’s office, the first thing he said was, ‘Thank you, God.’ On the way home from Nashville he kept telling us to ‘Look! Look!’ He wanted us to look at things like a train and lights on a cellphone tower on the side of the road. I guess he never saw them before,” said Roxanne. “God blessed him and his whole childhood he was able to see. I thought he could see fine. He couldn’t tell us he couldn’t see things. I guess his whole life he thought the way he was seeing things was normal. Around 20 years of age, we found out about his eye condition. I wish we had found this earlier.”
Roxanne said not only have the glasses helped his eyesight, they have helped his balance as well.
“Glenn also has cerebral palsy. He is not running into doors now. I thought he just wasn’t watching where he was going but, he couldn’t see the door facing. I feel so bad because I used to tell him to pay attention to what he was doing. Everything is so different now. He loves his glasses. They are the first thing he grabs in the mornings,” said Roxanne. “I want other people to realize the Lions Club can help. I want to give families hope.”
McMinnville Lions Club member Billy Cunningham said four Lions Clubs contributed to the purchase of Glenn’s special glasses. Along with Warren County Lions Club, Murfreesboro Noon, Smithville and Woodbury Lions clubs made the purchase possible.