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May 9, 2013

A Helping Hand in Mwandi

Throughout his life, Dr. Tom Irons, M.D. has been mindful of his duty to improving the health of his community. At the encouragement of his wife, Dr. Irons expanded the scope of his community service to include parts of the world that he had not yet considered. This service led Dr. Irons halfway across the world to the village of Mwandi in the African country of Zambia.

Dr. Irons and his wife have visited the Mwandi, a village that has been ravaged by HIV, eight times over the course of five years. While there, they play whatever role is necessary at the Mwandi Orphans and Vulnerable Children Project (Mwandi OCV Project). The Mwandi OVC Project aims to provide educational, social, spiritual and nutritional support to children living with sick parents or relatives, orphans left without one or both relatives and orphans who themselves have become HIV positive.

DSC_8319On these trips, Dr. Irons became close with several of the orphans in the village. One little boy in particular caught Dr. Iron’s interest. He is a bright little boy that, for some reason, was having trouble in school. No one in the village could understand why school was such a struggle for the boy; then it hit Dr. Irons that the boy may be having problems seeing as many grade school students struggle with school due to poor sight. Through the Mwandi OVC Project, the boy was able to receive a pair of eyeglasses which not only helped him perform better in school but also in other areas of his life, like soccer. More thankful than you could imagine, the boy cherished those eyeglasses and protected them as if the world depended on them.

During the Irons’ next trip to Mwandi, they made sure to visit with the young boy. When the Irons’ saw the boy, they found he wasn’t wearing his glasses. The boy told everyone that he left his glasses at home to make sure nothing happened to them. Dr. Irons became suspicious of the boy’s story after a friend suggested that the eyeglasses were likely broken. Sure enough the next day, the boy finally admitted that he’d lost his beloved glasses playing soccer.

Dr. Irons did not want to leave Mwandi without helping the little boy. He thought maybe some friends back in the States might be able to lend a hand and placed a call to Doctors Vision Center’s Dr. Ted Watson and explained the issue. Dr. Watson happily agreed to help out the little boy. The next day Dr. Watson contacted the staff at the Doctors Vision Center eye doctor office in Raleigh, NC on New Bern Avenue  and they order the boy two new pair of prescription eyeglasses. Once the eyeglasses were ready Dr. Watson sent the glasses to Mwandi free of charge. Having learned that the boy was a very good soccer player, Dr. Watson also sent the little boy a pair of sports goggles to ensure they didn’t get lost or broken  again while playing.

This act of kindness “speaks volumes about the generosity of Dr. Watson and Doctors Vision Center,” says Dr. Irons. “Dr. Watson and his staff went above and beyond to help the boy and we greatly appreciate their thoughtfulness.” In the future, Dr. Irons dreams of taking a team of optometrists to with him to Mwandi in hopes of improving eye care for the more kids in the village.

It was a pleasure for Dr. Ted Watson and his staff to help Dr. Irons and the little boy. “It is truly an honor that Dr. Irons thought of us when it mattered so much to him and his young friend” commented Dr. Watson. “We are always looking for ways to make a difference in our community and in the lives of our patients. It is gratifying to know that even thousands of miles away we helped make a different in the boy’s life by improving his sight.”

Doctors Vision Center, with 44 eye care locations across North Carolina, takes great pride in providing quality eye care to our state and local communities. We are happy to see that such care and thoughtfulness extends outside of our cities and offices to touch and enhance the lives of others in need.

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