Orbis: My charity of choice

orbisCharities are a very personal thing. Each of us chooses to donate for a variety of reasons. Often we assist an organization that affects us or our families, typically someone close that suffers from an ailment or perhaps died from it. Many people gravitate to such medical charities, or perhaps to humanitarian efforts around the globe, such as Red Cross or  Médecins Sans Frontières. Animal charities are always popular, be it WWF or the ASPCA. I could list classifications of charities for pages and pages, but we all understand the value of assisting or donating to one or more – we all feel the need to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

Like many folks, I donate to several, but today I wanted to bring light to my favorite charity. I find many folks have never heard of Orbis, not that I blame them. I certainly could name few of the tens of thousands of charities world wide, with so many folk giving up their time and money selflessly to help others.

Orbis international, formed in the 1970’s, works to restore sight and prevent blindness within 3rd world countries. Their devoted doctors do this not only through countless surgeries but also by providing hands-on-training and public health information to the countries they frequent. Furthermore, they advocate for improved facilities and technology. Since 1982 they’ve carried out programs in 92 countries, enhancing the skills of  over 300,000 eye care professionals and treating over 23 million patients.

They operate their own aircraft, a completely refitted DC10 airliner called the Flying Eye Hospital. Check it out. It is flown by a rotation of airline pilots that offer their piloting skills for free, flying the FEH to anywhere it is needed, allowing the eye specialists to work in the hi-tech labs and operating room on board.

I’ve been donating to Orbis for decades. Eyecare has always been close to my heart, having had myopia all my life, and now presbyopia in old age. I use a computer screen for my day job and for my writing and I treasure my eyesight accordingly. LASIK helped for 10-15 years but it fades as a person ages. Thankfully I have no sinister issues with my eyes but it moved me to hear of countless millions of people in poorer countries, particularly children, who have cataracts or other eye diseases threatening blindness.

Thank you eye care professionals and pilots at Orbis, as well as the support staff that keeps the organization working. Sight is a marvelous gift that you bestow upon your patients.



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