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Apr-19-2011 21:30printcomments

Thirteen Oregonians In Need Receive Free Sight-Saving Surgery During Mission Cataract Oregon

Dionysios Platanias kisses Dr. Roger Saulson's hand as he recovers in post op.
PHOTO: Dionysios Platanias kisses Dr. Roger Saulson's hand as he recovers in post op.

(Portland, Oregon) - On Friday, April 8th, thirteen pre-screened and pre-qualified individuals throughout the state received free cataract surgery during a Mission Cataract Oregon event sponsored by the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation and EyeHealth Northwest.

This event would not be possible without the collaborative effort of the following sponsors, donors and voluntters: EyeHealth Northwest surgeons: Roger Saulson, MD, Charles Bock, MD, Royce Fonken, MD, M. Christine Hauptmann, MD, Jonathan Kemp, MD, Shane Kim, MD, J. Kevin McKinney, MD, and James Waldman, MD and their team; Emerald Anesthesia Services and Alcom Labs. Plus, the following assisted patients with transportation and lodging: Heppner Lions Club, Eugene Downtown Lions Club, Cave Junction Lions Club, Grants Pass Redwood Lions Club, Vernonia Lions Club, Jim Jaggers, Les Tyo, Mary Lee Turner and Verna Dice.

EyeHealth Northwest doctors are committed to making a difference in our community when cataracts are preventing the less fortunate from seeing clearly.

"We have done a large number of international medical mission trips and we wanted to contribute to the underserved patients of our region. The Lions organization has consistently provided care and resources throughout our community, thus we felt they would be a good partner to help us contribute to those most in need," said Dr. Saulson.

The recipients of the free cataract surgeries were overcome with joy they were selected to receive the gift of sight. "I'm originally from Mexico where if you have no money or insurance, you go blind. I had resigned myself to going blind - when you are poor, you don't have too many choices. I am so grateful for this gift and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart!" express Celia Castro, 65, from Eugene.

Kevin Kothe, 51, of Springfield, could no longer work as a cook due to a lack of coordination and depth perception. His cataract was so severe he was partially blind and couldn't even renew his driving license. "I can't wait to get my life back on track. It is awesome - to give a partially blind man his vision!" he exclaimed.

Dionysios Platanias, 64, from Portland said, "You are all such beautiful people - you are all angels! Thank you so much…" He was so grateful for his surgery, he kissed Dr. Saulson's hand afterward.

This newly adopted Foundation program is the Oregon Chapter for Mission Cataract USA. Mission Cataract USA offers free cataract surgery to people of all ages who have no means to pay or do not qualify for Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance.

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