Helen Keller Day

Helen Keller is known as a woman of great courage, wisdom, and perseverance. After developing a fever at 18 months which left her blind, deaf, and mute, Keller went on to learn to speak and to become one of the greatest advocates for the blind. To this day, her words and actions are still an inspiration to many and live on through service projects throughout the world.

Lions Club is the world’s largest service club organization, with over 45,000 clubs and 1.35 million members internationally. Building on their mission for “everyone to see a better tomorrow,” Lions Club supports sight programs through raising funds and carrying out service projects. In 1925, Keller addressed the Lions Clubs International Convention to present them with an opportunity to go out into the world and support the work of the American Foundation for the Blind. It was this speech that led to Lions Club adopting a sight-related mission statement. And in 1971, following Keller’s death, Lions Club directors declared June 1st as Helen Keller Day. Ever since, Lions-sponsored, sight-related service projects have occurred on this day across the globe. Along with events held annually on June 1st, Lions Club chapters work with regional and national organizations to conduct sight-related projects all throughout the year.

Just recently, the Greater Boston Hispanic Lions Club helped support a family from Uruguay who was staying in Boston to allow their daughter to receive treatment at BFS. Cindia Romero and Eduardo Orges’ daughter, Damila, contracted Stevens-Johnson syndrome at the age of 2, and the condition has been severely impacting her physical health and quality of life for the past 2 years. Fundraisers, festivals, and the support of Lions Club chapters in Uruguay and in Boston helped the family travel to the U.S. and find a place to stay while Damila received treatment. Damalia received BFS care at no cost where Dr. Karen Carrasquillo worked with Damila and her family to learn to use PROSE devices. (click here to read more about Damila’s family’s experience in Boston and with BFS.)

Will you not help me hasten the day when there shall be no preventable blindness; no little deaf, blind child untaught; no blind man or woman unaided? I appeal to you Lions, you who have your sight, your hearing, you who are strong and brave and kind. Will you not constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness?

As spoken by Helen Keller in her 1925 speech to Lions Club members. And over 85 years later, these words still hold great significance. Who of us will join in this crusade against darkness? Through the help of Lions Club and other service organizations, BFS has had the chance to help make a significant, positive impact in the lives of one little girl and her family. What steps might you take to join the crusade?

Although no specific events for Helen Keller Day have been advertised in the Boston area as of yet, check with your local Lions Club chapter to see what sight-related service projects may be in your area on June 1st! Another way to get involved with this cause is to make a donation of old eyewear to a Lions-sponsored collection box in your town or city.

Are there any projects, groups, or personal steps you have taken or plan to take to join in this crusade set forth many years ago by Helen Keller.  Inspire us, please!

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