To See and to Walk: Part 1 – To See

January 22nd, 2017 – a group of 23 professionals – ophthalmologists, orthopedists, physiotherapists, DME specialists and others – who came with GAiN USA eye and mobility clinic helped close to 600 Holocaust survivors and other elderly to fit 811 pairs of glasses and select 362 canes, walkers and wheelchairs that will make their lives much easier. The eye and mobility clinic took place in Lev Hadar elderly hostel in Haifa between January 14th and 18th.

We have already written in our previous post about the clinic what a huge effort was made by the local organizers to bring in that number of the elderly. Helping Hand Coalition for Israel (עמותת יד לעזרה ישראל) has been organizing the eye clinic in many cities in Israel over the years, and it did a lot of ground work to make sure the clinic worked smoothly and maximum number of the elderly received attention and care, including bringing in 17 translators and its own volunteers to enable clear communication between the doctors and those who came to receive help.

Failing eyesight is one of the major problems for the elderly, as it leaves them helpless  – they can’t move around, cook or read. That is why so many have turned up during these days and waited patiently to receive the glasses. The smiles on their faces as they were fitted with reading glasses and could suddenly read clearly were priceless. Many got both reading and distance glasses and were very grateful for these gifts. GAiN volunteers also went to several homes of those survivors who were unable to come to the clinic, bringing with them both glasses and wheelchairs.

In addition, everyone who came to the clinic received a bag and a quality quilt or a crocheted blanket – a gift from a group of women in California who have been hand-making them especially for Israeli elderly. It was very heartwarming and gratifying for the volunteers to see the tears and the smiles and to receive warm hugs from the survivors in appreciation of their work!