NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence Lions Club recently held their first in-person meeting since the onset of the pandemic in the back parking lot at CWI Designs on an unseasonably chilly April evening. After the formalities and business portion of the meeting, the members enjoyed time catching up while participating in a chocolate tasting that served as a fundraiser to benefit Eversight, one of the many philanthropic partnerships supported by the New Providence Lions.
Eversight is an organization dedicated to restoring sight and preventing blindness through the healing power of donation, transplantation and research. Eversight proudly partners with NJ Sharing Network, Lions Clubs, surgeons, businesses and philanthropists throughout New Jersey to advance its mission.
This partnership between Lions and Eversight is a natural fit. As Knights of the Blind since 1925, Lions Clubs established the foundation for modern eye banking. In all the communities Eversight serve, "We proudly partner with Lions to change lives through restoring vision and preventing blindness," Eversight website states.
"That's why we support sight programs and services including vision screenings, eye banks and eyeglass recycling and support eye care services to those at risk of losing their sight," said Tom Montrone, New Providence Lions Club president.
"Our goal is to engage, regardless of any Club's ability to support philanthropically," said Jennifer Rosenblatt, Director of Philanthropy at Eversight. "If it wasn't for the Lions, there wouldn't be an Eye Bank in New Jersey."
Peter DeSarno, a member of the New Providence Lions club and a recipient of two cornea transplants, introduced the New Providence Lions Club to Eversight. “I am passionate about spreading the important lifesaving and enhancing message of organ and tissue donation because I know the powerful impact it can have” he said. “It is an honor to bring together two organizations (The Lions Club and Eversight) that do so much good and have personally impacted my life.” He currently sits on the Eversight Advisory Board.
DeSarno was diagnosed with a condition called Keratoconus that effected both of his eyes and at the age of 24, received two cornea transplants that restored his vision and forever changed his life. Because of this gift, "I've seen my kids grow up, I've seen my wife, and I've been able to have a career that I couldn't have had otherwise," he said.
The gift of his first donor cornea in his left eye came to him with the assistance of the Lions Eye Bank of Texas. The second transplant in his right eye was procured with the assistance of the Lions Eye Bank of New Jersey (now Eversight) working in conjunction with the New Providence based, NJ Sharing Network.
DeSarno explained that unfortunately he has not been unable to make contact with and thank his donor families. He said, they were two heroic human beings who came from two loving, caring and generous families who in their darkest hour displayed an incredible amount of love and compassion in providing him with the gift of sight. He said, "Humanity doesn't get any more beautiful than that."
New Providence Lions Club: The Lions Club motto is "We Serve." The New Providence Lions Club strives to help make New Providence a thriving community to live, work and do business. Most importantly, we do all these good things for our community and still manage to share quality experiences and have a lot of fun.