One of the most fullfilling things about being a Lion is to be involved in stories like this one.
At the end of September we were contacted by Lucas Strobush who was reaching out to us in need of some assistance. His daughter, Fiona, is an adorable 4 year old little girl who was diagnosed with bi-lateral retinoblastoma, which is retinal cancer in both eyes when she was just 7 months old. Since then, she has undergone who knows how many surgeries and treatments over the years; chemo, lasers, cryotherapy, MRI, etc. The current situation is that she has had one eye removed and wears a prosthetic which she has outgrown and now needs to be replaced. Oddly enough, it literally fell out for the first time the day he contacted us.
They had two options. One was to to go to an eye mill and get one of the churned out prosthetics. Unfortunately, those are known to be ill fitting and colored poorly. The coloration isn’t so much of a deal breaker as the ill fit, it leads to constant irritation and inflammation in and around the eye socket.
The second option was to go to a place in Burlington that does custom colored and fitted eye prosthetics. The advantage is that this prosthetic eye fits nicely and looks the same as her other eye but the problem is that it is more expensive and not covered by insurance. Having done a great deal of research and talking with others that have gone through this before they decided that this was the better option. The cost, of course, was going to be a major burden on the family. They had already made the decision and were planning to pay for it out of their own pocket. But they were reaching out to see if we could help.
Fiona was actually in need of her second prosthetic since her head and eye sockets had grown to the point where the first one was literally falling out. They were unable to continue adding material to the outside anymore since the radius had changed and there was no longer any way to adjust that without starting a new one from scratch. At the time we were first contacted they believed that she may end up needing a third one eventually if her eye sockets continued to grow but otherwise this one would be maintained for the rest of her life.
Of course, when we heard about this we were heart-broken to hear about Fiona’s struggles but were thrilled to be a blessing to this family. This is what Lions do! We help people – particularly people with vision related issues. So we donated $3,000 to cover the remaining expenses for Fiona’s prosthetic eye. This evening we got to meet Fiona in person and her parents Lucas and Amy. They also brought us some great news: First, the doctors believe that now that Fiona is five years old it is likely that this will be the last prostechic she will ever need. But most importantly Fiona is now cancer FREE! We are so happy to hear this news and with Fiona and her family all the best!
So if you have ever wondered what we do with the money we raise at the State Fair each year, here is a perfect example!
This is actually the second time we have had the opportunity to be involved in purchasing a prosthetic eye for a child. Back in September of 2016 we were able to do something very similar to another little girl named Amber. You can read all about Amber’s story here.
But we need some help, too. We really need some people to join our cause and become members of our local club here in Apex. If you would like to join us and help people like Fiona and Amber and their families please reach out to us!