A Tale of Tails
More than 73 years ago, three Lions from Detroit, Mich. had a dream that they could build a school to train dogs for people who are blind or visually impaired. Lions from all over the world helped this dream come true. Over 14,500 people have left Leader Dog, walking proudly, safely and independently with a Leader Dog harness in their left hand full of Lion love in the form of a guide dog.
In February of this year, Lion Mark Mansell, from the State of Washington, had a dream that he could help Leader Dog raise $35,000 by pedaling his bicycle from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. His dream was to ask fellow Lions to buy a pin for $35 to support the cause. Lions from all over the U.S. joined in his enthusiasm and made arrangements for places for him to stay, to hold rallies and to assist him in any way they could as he crossed the country. Although this was one man’s dream, hundreds of Lions contributed in support of this epic journey and to date he has raised over $100,000 to benefit the Leader Dog mission.
In the past 73 years more than 14,500 clients have also had a dream, a dream of mobility and of regaining self-confidence. Leader Dog has had clients who have become lawyers, physical therapists, organists, engineers, counselors and public speakers, the list goes on and on. Lions have always had dreams — it could be the dream of one Lion, or one club, or a district to assist in improving the quality of life for people who are blind or visually impaired. When Helen Keller challenged the Lions to become Knights of the Blind, this was her dream.
Lions made a promise to make her dream come true. Leader Dog has been the driving force to see that this dream is made a reality through programs to provide highly trained guide dogs, a nationally recognized mobility program, programs in audible GPS technology and a summer leadership camp for teenagers who are blind. All of this happens because Lions dream and because Lions make dreams come true.
Leader Dogs have been provided to the blind by your local Chugiak Lions, Eagle River Lions and Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions. We thank all Lions for joining in the dream, for working and contributing, and for being Knights of the Blind. I remind you, “The only happiness you get to keep is the happiness you give away.”
If you would like more information on how you can help please visit www.lionsclubs.org. To learn more about being a Lion, please visit our websites at www.sleepingladylions.org, www.lionsclub.org or give me a call at 242-1129.