1 day, 25 opticians, over 900 patients, helping others…priceless.
I always find myself trying to help family and friends and it never really occurred to me that I’ve never made a conscious effort to help out in my own community. Kim’s brother Zac started Medworks in July of 2009 and although I assisted answering phones when they shared our space with us, I never really got much more involved. I guess the only thing I have to say for myself is, shame on me. With Kim’s recruitment of our studio for yesterday’s vision clinic held at the Quicken Loans Arena, I figured it was time for me to help out. What was my excuse not to? The whole studio was going. Along with Kim’s request of our attendance, she mentioned that we would have to meet at the studio at 6:15 am. 6:15 am is NOT a time I see very often. Regardless, I was planning on going, no matter what. I set my alarm for 5:15 am and when it went off, I was wide awake and ready to go but definitely completely unprepared for what the day had in store. As I share my story, you’ll hopefully come to see that I in no way regret my early morning start.
I guess you could say that many of my blog posts can be quantitative (see above). Calculating the amount of days left until a holiday, the growing months and years of our clients, the number of photos in a composite or even the square footage of the largest candy store. But yesterday really couldn’t be measured. Yes, of course the number of uninsured and under insured patients that lined the streets of Superior and Ontario were unbelievable, but for me, the amount of joy I felt from helping others is indescribable. The amount of happiness and appreciation could not be adequately justified by any number. And from what I witnessed, I’d say that the 900+ people that came (just adding in that number to show just how many people were provided with vision care) they too couldn’t even fully express the gratitude they had for us volunteering our time and services. Numbers give us statistics. They are a collection of data that give us a representation of something. For Medworks, knowing how many people they were able to help yesterday is a very profound statistic that they should be very proud of. But even knowing the number, being there made all the difference. Working at registration allowed me to meet the people face to face and really see (no pun intended) their need. They weren’t just numbers, they were fellow neighbors in our hometown of Cleveland that needed our help. It made me realize that I have it pretty good. If I should be quantitating anything, it should be the number of blessings in my life.
Just to give you some insight on our day…
I would say each of us had what we would call our favorite moment or even part of the day. One of mine (since I enjoyed my entire day) would be when I received a text from Kim at 7:31 am (which was only about 30 min after we had arrived). It said “Line’s down Ontario-can you shoot?”. Three of us brought our cameras with us to capture the patients, the doctors, the volunteers and all the buzzing around that was to occur until 6 pm. Kim obviously had her camera and I think intended on possibly photographing, but instead she got right to business with a mic in her hand calling out peoples’ wristband numbers from the stands of the arena. Everyone had their eyes on her, or at least had their ears open listening out for Kim to yell out their lucky number. With each number called out, it was as if a winning lottery number was announced. Once each hundredth number was reached, the crowd cheered and clapped. It was a huge milestone for those that had been waiting for hours. So needless to say, Kim had her hands full. I was placed at registration, so as soon as I finished with the person seated in front of me, I grabbed my camera and headed out. It was already hot and humid and there were hundreds of people lined outside the front doors. Some were reading the paper, while others sitting on the ground playing cards. But as I rounded the corner onto Ontario, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I kept walking and walking as rush hour traffic passed by. The line was incredibly long and dense. I guess I never thought that there would be such a huge turnout. Trying to avoid getting hit by a car, I crossed Ontario to try and capture everyone standing around the Q. Mission impossible. Without a wide angle lens it wasn’t going to happen, but hopefully the photos below will give you a sense of what I saw that morning because in this case…seeing is believing.