If you live in Campbell River, BC, you might open your mail one day to find a greeting card and gift from an enthusiastic Operation Eyesight supporter… even if you don’t know him personally.
For the past 30-plus years, Don McIver has celebrated local milestones by giving friends, strangers and organizations like Rotary and church groups a tribute gift from Operation Eyesight: a cataract surgery that will restore the sight of someone in a developing country.
“I like the idea of giving,” he says. “My wife Joan and I were hooked from the first time we gave that gift. To think that two people with no medical capabilities could give the gift of sight to people in far-away countries… it was the best thing we could do for anyone.” He hopes the recipients, in turn, like the idea and choose to give themselves.
Don volunteers for a number of local events, including the Campbell River Dance, film festival and Christmas craft sales. He sets up a table offering what he calls “eye cards,” greeting cards from Operation Eyesight that fund cataract surgeries in Africa or India. Many people contact the organization to purchase the cards, and at least one couple bought all their Christmas gifts through Operation Eyesight, thanks to his promotion.
Don is pleased that additional good is resulting from his steady volunteer schedule. “I’m always happy when we can give more cataract surgeries. Thirty dollars won’t do much for us here, but we can make such a difference in another person’s life by giving.”
As a father and grandfather, Don recognizes the difficulty presented by being blind in a developing country. “It’s difficult enough to raise kids here in Canada. But imagine when a mother loses her vision, or a husband loses his job. Imagine when children are born with congenital cataracts.”
Don regularly reads SightLines newsletters and watches the videos that offer a glimpse of lives impacted by generous donors. He has worked with the community television station to air Operation Eyesight videos, further helping to share the organization’s story with a wider audience.
Long retired from his work in a local pulp and paper mill, Don now enjoys being outside as much as he can. He himself recently had cataract surgeries, and is now doubly appreciative of healthy eyes.
“There are so many nice things in nature to enjoy,” he muses. “What pleasure we have from eyesight!”