LGS Well-Represented at Eye Bank Association of America Meeting

Lions Gift of Sight sent 11 staff members to learn, teach, and network at the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA) annual meeting on June 21 - 24 in Dallas, Texas. The event presented many opportunities for our eye bankers to shine.

Chris LaGassie, Joshua Hou, MD, and Ching Yuan, PhD, all made podium presentations as follows: Effect of Paired Radial Incision Placement Relative to DMEK Scroll Axis on Triple Scroll Formation in Young Donor Tissue (LaGassie), a Case Study on 'A Recipient with CJD’ (Hou), and Research: Creating a POSITIVE IMPACT on the World and Your Bottom Line (Yuan).

Dr. Joshua Hou and Chris LaGassie at the podium
Joshua Hou, M.D., and Chris LaGassie presenting at the EBAA annual meeting.
LGS staff at EBAA banquet

Ready for the Friday night dinner are: Ching Yuan, Ph.D., Chris LaGassie, Joshua Hou, M.D., Sean Poppoff, Patty Stockdale, Peter Bedard, Patrick Becker, and Jolie Schmidt.

Three eye banks (Lions Gift of Sight, VisionGift, and Advancing Sight Network) presented a session on "Research: Creating a POSITIVE IMPACT on the World and Your Bottom Line." Research & Development Director, Ching Yuan, Ph.D., was one of the keynote speakers, giving the talk, "Help your clients (and you) have a phenomenal research program." Dr. Yuan was also a faculty member for the session "Dissecting Ocular Tissue for Research: Live Demo and Wet Lab." Lions Gift of Sight partnered with two other eye banks on this training and provided the needed tissue.

Medical Director, Joshua Hou, M.D., participated in the Medical Directors Symposium and moderated the Scientific Symposium. He is also the EBAA Scientific Program Chair.

Technical Operations Director, Patrick Becker, participated in the Technical Skills Workshop. As a member of the Technician Education Committee, Patrick presented a case study about an LGS eye donation from a living donor. Eye donations from living persons are rare, and this was only the second LGS has coordinated in more than 60 years of operations. Patrick was one of five presentations at this invited session.

Chris LaGassie and Stephanie Simpson (Eye Bank Scientists) and Katie Miller (Metro Tissue Recovery Supervisor) were all celebrated at the meeting for achieving CEBT (Certified Eye Bank Technician) status. Eye Bank Scientist Minhua Wu was recognized for receiving the Jachin Misko Memorial Scholarship.

Congratulation to everyone at Lions Gift of Sight for advancing the field of ophthalmology in so many ways!

Ching teaching other eye bankers to process research tissue
Ching Yuan, Ph.D., at the live demo and wet lab on research tissue processing.
Patrick presenting at EBAA technical skills workshop
Patrick presenting at EBAA Technical Skills Workshop.
Lynn Chris and Jodi beside balloons and lit EBAA sign
Lynn Balfour, Chris LaGassie, and Jodi Altenhofen at the EBAA annual meeting.


LGS at ARVO 2023

Lions Gift of Sight research team at ARVO

Research Scientist Sung Lee, Research and Development Director Dr. Ching Yuan, Research Fellow Peter Bedard (all with Lions Gift of Sight), and Researcher Heidi Roehrich (with the University of Minnesota's Vision Core Facility Histology lab) at ARVO.

The Lions Gift of Sight research team attended the annual ARVO (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) meeting in New Orleans to promote our many research accomplishments, current endeavors, and services offered to scientists around the world. Peter Bedard (Research Fellow), Sung Lee (Research Scientist), Sean Poppoff (Executive Director), Heidi Roehrich (Histology Researcher), and Dr. Ching Yuan (Research and Development Director) connected with more than 80 potential research clients at our vendor booth. Peter also presented a poster, "Effect of paired radial incision orientation relative to DMEK scroll axis on the likelihood of triple scroll formation in young donor tissue," co-authored by Eye Bank Scientist Chris LaGassie and Medical Director Dr. Joshua Hou.

Link to Bedard 2023 ARVO Poster

Peter poses with his poster at ARVO 2023

Peter Bedard, M.S., with his ARVO 2023 poster.


Photo of new Lions club members along with District Governor Jennifer.

Pictured are LifeSource Lions, Laura Kelly-Lovdahl, Kyle Kinsey, and Peter Farstad, along with LGS Lions, Amber Benbow, District Governor Jennifer Marshall, and Lion Lynn Balfour, at the new member induction ceremony on November 29.

Ambassadors Lions Club Welcomes New Partner Members

On November 29, 2022, a special induction ceremony was held to welcome in five new members to the Ambassadors Lions club: two from Lions Gift of Sight and three from our partner organization LifeSource. We are proud to welcome Lion Lynn Balfour (LGS Partner Relations Liaison), Lion Amber Benbow (LGS Business Analyst), Lion Peter Farstad (LifeSource Chief Administrative Officer), Lion Laura Kelly-Lovdahl (LIfeSource Philanthropy & Development Coordinator), and Lion Kyle Kinsey (LifeSource Director of Clinical Services) to the work of Lions International! Lions District Governor Jennifer Marshall presided, and attending were Lions Jim and Marilyn Opp of the Scandia Marine Lions club and PDG Lion Rob Hed, chair of the Minnesota Lions Vision Foundation.

The Minneapolis Ambassadors Lions is a club that has a strong tie with the University of Minnesota. Many of its members come from the departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences (including Lions Gift of Sight) and Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery. Many others are community members who support the vision, hearing, diabetes research, and speech work being done at the University.  Club members area available for speaking events and also participate in many service and fundraising activities in the area.


Photo of Lake Catherine, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah

Congratulations to our Technical Operations Director, Patrick Becker! Out of more than a hundred entries, Patrick was one of four Eye Bank Association of America "A New View" Photo contest winners. The contest theme celebrates both the new perspective on life that corneal recipients experience and the the change in viewpoint donor families express after the loss of a loved one. Photo was taken on August 14, 2021, at 6:49 a.m. with an iPhone 12. The location is Lake Catherine, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah.

Lions International President Brian Sheehan at Oktoberfest Event

Lions International President Brian Sheehan from Bird Island, Minn., relaxes at Oktoberfest event at Nicollet Island Inn Pavilion.

Lions International Board Visits Minnesota

In October, International President Lion Brian Sheehan, the International board of directors, Lions International staff, and many partners in service from all over the world visited Minnesota to conduct business and learn more about Lions Multiple District 5M (Minnesota, Manitoba, and Northwest Ontario). 

Many festivities were planned throughout Minnesota to highlight the beauty and allure of our state. While in the Twin Cities, visitors were treated to dinner at the historic Minneapolis Club and an Oktoberfest celebration at the Nicollet Island Inn Pavilion. Then they headed north to see what Duluth and Brainerd had to offer, not the least of which was the stunning autumn colors!

While the International Board was conducting business, the partners of board members came to Lions Gift of Sight for lunch, talks, and a tour. Staff from every avenue of the eye bank helped teach about the intricacies of eye banking and about the world-class research being conducted or facilitated by LGS. It is a privilege to share our mission with others who give service from the heart!

International Guests Tour LGS Lab

International guests learn about eye banking as they tour the Lions Gift of Sight laboratory.

International guests listen to talks while being treated to lunch

Lions International guests enjoy lunch and speakers, including Lions Gift of Sight Medical Director, Joshua Hou, M.D.

Brian Sheehan pin and Together We Can slogan


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