Weather Forecast


Lions hoping to add surgery to Mexico eye mission clinics

Ten area residents helped with the Mazatlan Eye Clinic in March. They include, front from left, Laurel Long, Detroit Lakes; Crystal Long, Ohio Lions; Pam Olson, Grand Forks; Mari Radke, Detroit Lakes Lions; back from left, Dave Long, Detroit Lakes; Clayton Skoglund, Parkers Prairie Lions; Dave Waas, Underwood Lions; Pete Eikeland, Underwood Lions; Armand Radke, Detroit Lakes Lions; Mike Nolan, Grand Forks Lions. The group saw 1,200 Mazatlan residents in three days. Submitted Photo

Each year, members of area Lions Clubs take a trip down to Mazatlan, Mexico, to perform an eye clinic for those in need. That need continues to grow in numbers and in services needed.

The Detroit Lakes Lions Club is holding its annual geraniums fundraiser to help with the yearly trip.

This year, the group of eight — which fluctuates each year — went to Mexico in March for a weeklong mission trip that included some rest and relaxation as well.

What it also included was seeing 1,200 people, checking their vision and fitting them with glasses if needed.

Organizer and eye doctor Armand Radke said that of those 1,200 people, 94 of them are in need of eye surgery. It’s those people that Radke wants to concentrate on in the future.

Once the Lions leave Mexico, most, if not all, of those who needed surgery will never get the treatment for whatever reason. But Radke wants to change that by setting up a surgery mission trip besides the eye clinic trip.

“That’s the part we don’t do a real good job on yet,” he said. “That would be full circle, to get the care they need.”

He said that over the next couple years, he wants to acquire the surgical instruments needed to perform surgeries and get them to Mazatlan. He’s been bringing items over the last couple years as well.

Once there, the doctors — Radke’s son Phillip will be an ophthalmologist by then and plans to help — will have access to surgery suites in Mazatlan, can perform the surgeries, and then Armand Radke can stay longer and do follow-up care while he is there for the glasses mission.

“Either volunteers do it or it doesn’t get done,” Radke said of the eye care and surgeries.

“Due to the poor economy in Mexico, the local ophthalmologists will only do one case free per year,” he said. “I have received Lions International approval to purchase surgical instruments to allow ophthalmologists from the University of Minnesota, along with my son Phillip, to begin to plan for future surgery in the next two years.”

The local Lions clubs work with the Mazatlan Lions and other surrounding towns they serve in, like Rosario, and cooperation has improved over the years, which is beneficial to all clubs involved.

“There’s a good group set up there now. They’re helping us out,” Radke said.

So, to raise money for the mission trips, the Detroit Lakes Lions Club is selling potted geraniums from Bergen’s for $25.

On sale from now until May 17, orders can be placed at 846-1949 for the Eyes for Mexico fundraiser.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.