Saving Sight Welcomes New Medical Director Team

Medical directors play an essential role at eye banks like Saving Sight by providing advice and oversight of medical operations. They ensure the eye bank operates in compliance with the Eye Bank Association of America’s medical standards and other regulatory standards from the Food and Drug Administration.

On July 1, Saving Sight welcomed Dr. Michelle Boyce and Dr. Chris Ketcherside to its medical director team. These new additions complete a team of four, with Drs. Boyce and Martin de la Presa serving as associate medical directors, and Drs. Ketcherside and Gregg Berdy as medical directors. This update follows the announcement of longtime medical director Dr. Joseph Tauber’s planned retirement from the Saving Sight team. Dr. Tauber will continue his association with Saving Sight as chief medical officer at Vital Tears.

Join us in learning more about the Saving Sight medical director team!

Dr. Michelle Boyce, Associate Medical Director
Moyes Eye Center

Dr. Michelle Boyce is a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in cataract surgery, refractive surgery, and corneal eye disease at Moyes Eye Center in Kansas City. She received her undergraduate education at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, and graduated with honors from St. Louis University School of Medicine. Dr. Boyce completed a one-year internship in internal medicine and a three-year ophthalmology residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She then completed a fellowship in cornea, external disease, and refractive surgery at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

Looking forward to her new role, Dr. Boyce stated, “My hope is to maintain excellent care and further our reputation among cornea specialists and patients while advancing our work in new and innovative ways.” She is also the first woman on Saving Sight’s medical director team and expressed her hope to be “the first of many.”

Dr. Martin de la Presa, Associate Medical Director 
Grene Vision Group

Since 2022, Dr. Martin de la Presa has played a key role at Saving Sight, serving as associate medical director. Beyond his role at Saving Sight, he is an ophthalmic surgeon specializing in cornea, cataract, refractive, and glaucoma surgeries at Grene Vision Group in Wichita, Kansas. He completed his fellowship in cornea and external disease at the Cincinnati Eye Institute and his residency in ophthalmology at the University of Minnesota.

In reflecting on his role, Dr. de la Presa emphasized the crucial connection between physicians and eye banks, noting, “Physicians act as the voice for both patients and donors, ensuring that every tissue donation is utilized fully and reaches those in greatest need.” 

 Dr. Chris Ketcherside, Medical Director
Kansas City Eye Clinic

Dr. Chris Ketcherside, based at the Kansas City Eye Clinic, specializes in LASIK and refractive surgery, cataract and premium lens implant surgery, cornea disorders, and cornea transplant surgery. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Missouri, followed by an ophthalmology residency at the University of Virginia and a fellowship at the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute at the University of Colorado, focusing on cornea and refractive surgery.

Dr. Ketcherside discussed the role of medical directors in fostering innovation within ophthalmology, stating, “We bridge the clinic, the operating room, and the patient themselves. We bring current issues and potential needs to the eye banking community, helping us work together to anticipate and resolve challenges.”

Dr. Gregg Berdy, Medical Director
Ophthalmology Associates

Dr. Gregg Berdy has been a leader at Saving Sight since he first joined the board of directors in 1992, later serving as co-medical director with Dr. Tauber. A board-certified, fellowship-trained ophthalmologist specializing in cornea and external disease and ocular allergy at Ophthalmology Associates in St. Louis, Dr. Berdy has been a principal investigator for at least fifty FDA trials and has published extensively in ophthalmic literature. He has also served as president and a board member for the Missouri Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons.

Reflecting on the impact of eye donation, Dr. Berdy remarked, “What you must remember is that each transplant originates from a person and family who chose to donate, which is at the heart of everything. Every case reminds me of how special that is.”

We look forward to working closely with this dedicated group of professionals to ensure that Saving Sight is meeting our community’s needs in the most safe and effective way possible.

Honoring Chad: A Mother’s Tribute to Love and Legacy

Chad, a vibrant soul with a zest for life, left a mark on those who knew him. “He was a very happy person,” Linda fondly recalls. “He loved to have fun, joking and wrestling around.”

Tragically, Chad’s journey came to an end in January 2017 due to a car accident. Through her sorrow, Linda found peace in the opportunity to honor Chad’s memory through organ donation. Linda shares, “Chad would do anything he could to help somebody.” Chad’s selflessness manifested in his decision to register as an eye, organ, and tissue donor, a choice that would impact countless lives.

For Linda, Chad’s donation brought awareness and understanding. “I signed my driver’s license every time, knowing it was the right thing to do,” she says. “But I didn’t fully comprehend the extent of donation until Chad’s passing.” Through Midwest Transplant Network, Linda discovered the ripple effect of donation, extending far beyond organs to include tissues, bones, and corneas. “I had no idea that you could donate corneas or tissue,” she said. “It’s been eye-opening to learn how donation can touch so many lives.”

Chad’s legacy of giving continues to shine through an annual wiffleball tournament, a fitting tribute to his cherished childhood memories. Linda shares, “In September 2016, he was here with one of his kids and a couple of the other grandkids, and they were all outside playing wiffleball, and he said to me, ‘Mom, you know that this is my fondest memory growing up.’” Linda began to wonder what she could do to honor Chad and his legacy. “I didn’t want to do like the normal 5K because he didn’t run. I wanted it to be about him and came up with a wiffleball tournament.” What began as a small gathering with about eight teams on one field has blossomed into an annual community-wide event with 24 teams spread across eight fields.

As Linda navigates grief and healing, she finds comfort in connecting with recipients of Chad’s gifts. From an elderly woman regaining mobility to a hiker conquering new heights, each story reaffirms the impact of eye, organ, and tissue donation.

In honoring Chad’s legacy, Linda embraces a message of resilience and hope. “His story is one of triumph and tragedy,” she reflects. “I choose to focus on the positive, carrying forward his spirit of giving with every letter, every conversation, and every act of kindness.” As Linda and her family continue to honor Chad’s memory, they invite others to join them on the journey of donation. “Chad gave 100% of what he could give,” Linda emphasizes. “His legacy lives on in the lives he touched, inspiring us all to embrace the gift of giving.” In commemorating Chad’s spirit of generosity, Linda reminds us that even in moments of loss, love endures, and the legacy of giving transcends time.

Meet Our Lion Ambassador of the Year Nominees!

Later this month, Saving Sight will announce its first Lion Ambassador of the Year at the Missouri Lions State Convention. We’ve received seven nominations for Lions doing amazing work in our service area. Nominations were accepted from current MD-26 District Governors, the MD-26 Council Chair, and Saving Sight’s board.

Lion Joann Pruitt, nominated by DG Marilynn Reaves
Lion Joann Pruitt of the Fort Leonard Wood Lions Club is a highly dedicated volunteer for her Lions club and her district. She’s served 1,661 people in 24 service activities, adding up to 110 service hours devoted to changing lives by saving sight. Perhaps the area most impacted by Lion Joann’s work is with our partner organization, KidSight. Lion Joann has screened over 1,000 children with the program, impacting the lives of children and families in her community.

Lion John Berger, nominated by DG Paul Carr
Lion John Berger’s impact resonates deeply throughout Missouri as a Kids Sight Volunteer. His commitment to children’s vision screening began years ago, igniting a mission to ensure no child falls through the cracks due to vision issues. From school screenings to district-wide advocacy, John tirelessly promotes Kids Sight, inspiring teams and volunteers to join the cause. His warmth and patience shine during screenings, easing children into what might be their first eye examination. John’s dedication extends beyond children, as he now extends his efforts to senior citizens at health fairs. His unwavering commitment to ensuring access to vision care for all ages exemplifies true service and compassion.

PDG Lyn Porterfield, nominated by DG Sherl Horton
PDG Lyn Porterfield’s passion for humanitarian service is evident through his instrumental role in establishing and participating in eye missions. His tireless efforts to set up and attend these missions have transformed his dream into reality, providing essential vision care across the state. Lyn’s dedication extends beyond mission logistics; he meticulously cleans and reads hundreds of glasses annually, ensuring resources are maximized to benefit those in need. His unwavering commitment to improving access to vision care embodies the spirit of Lionism. Lyn’s selfless service and enduring contributions to the community have left an indelible mark, earning him profound appreciation and admiration from colleagues and beneficiaries alike.

PDG Devin Struttmann, nominated by the Saving Sight board
PDG Devin Struttmann’s dedication to vision care extends far and wide. As a vital member of the Missouri Lions Eye Mission Foundation, Devin was pivotal in expanding their services beyond the United States to include missions within Missouri. While continuing missions abroad, his focus on local outreach ensures that communities in need receive vital vision care resources. Devin’s involvement with Saving Sight underscores his commitment to serving the less fortunate, evident through his active participation in his local Lions Club, district, and state Lions initiatives. His unwavering dedication to Saving Sight drives his involvement in vision care advocacy.

PCC Brad Baker, nominated by DG Phil Krebs
PCC Brad Baker epitomizes boundless service as CEO of MidSouth Lions Sight and Hearing Services since 1995. Recognized by the Saving Sight board and Missouri Lions, his impact extends worldwide. Covering MO-AR-MS-West TN, Brad ensures access to eye care regardless of financial constraints. Guided by the mission “A Miracle a Day,” he aligns MidSouth Lions’ mission with Saving Sight’s goal of “Changing Lives by Saving Sight.” From organizing Cataract-A-Thons for dozens to facilitating care for individuals worldwide, Brad’s devotion to preserving and enhancing sight shines through. Collaborating with Baptist Memorial Hospital and the Hamilton Eye Institute, his tireless dedication to improving lives through vision care reflects a profound commitment to humanitarian service.

PDG Bill Foglesong, nominated by CC Harold Spire
PDG Bill Foglesong embodies the essence of altruism and dedication in promoting eye health and preventing blindness. His commitment shines brightly through volunteering at Donor Days at Walgreens, where his tireless efforts make a tangible impact on the community. Moreover, PDG Bill’s altruism extends beyond his contributions as he actively involves his wife, Lisa, in this vital cause. Together, they have participated in raising a Leader Dog puppy and have generously volunteered their time and expertise, amplifying the impact of their efforts.

PDG Mark Schaeperkoetter, nominated by DG Ed Bierbower
PDG Mark Schaeperkoetter’s dedication to children’s vision health is evident through his recent screening of 60 third and fourth-grade students at Eldon Lower Elementary. His proactive approach ensures early detection and intervention for potential eye issues, with seven children referred to an optometrist for further evaluation. PDG Mark and Lion Judy’s ongoing commitment to screening young school children across mid and southern Missouri highlights their selfless dedication to community service. Through their efforts, they contribute significantly to the well-being of children, potentially averting severe eye problems in the future. Mark’s passion for ensuring every child receives the care they need underscores his exemplary leadership and humanitarian spirit within the Lions community.

Unleashing Potential Through the Emerging Leaders Leadership Program

Unleashing Potential Through the Emerging Leaders Leadership Program

Photos of graduating class

Emerging Leaders Graduates – Class of 2023

Just before the holiday season, the third Emerging Leaders class kicked off, with its participants eager to develop a wide variety of skills and knowledge.  The Emerging Leaders Program is a 6-month development program that is intended to help prepare future Saving Sight leaders in the principles of leadership, strategy, and relational impact. During the program, participants will dive deep into topics such as leadership guiding principles, difficult conversations, data analytics, and communications, just to name a few.

This program is meant to develop future leaders, whether they are future leaders at Saving Sight or somewhere else down the road. The growth and development of new leaders are beneficial to everyone involved in Emerging Leaders. By focusing on leadership development, Saving Sight creates a culture that values learning and continuous improvement. Investing in leadership development ensures a pipeline of skilled and capable leaders. This, in turn, contributes to the overall success and sustainability of Saving Sight. Class participants gain new knowledge and skillsets while growing in their leadership abilities. Meanwhile, current leaders can share their experience and knowledge with emerging leaders, facilitating the transfer of institutional wisdom and organizational values. “It’s a rewarding experience, and I really enjoyed it. You’ll find that you’ll get out of it exactly what you put in,” says Mark Wood, a Client Services Specialist at Saving Sight and recent graduate of the Emerging Leaders Program.

While there were quite a few applications to the program, only a few were selected. A selection committee of current leaders at Saving Sight met and decided who would be in the third class of emerging leaders.

Bi-weekly sessions will immerse participants in a wide array of subjects, such as the Guiding Principles of Leadership, Time Management, and Emotional intelligence. Experts from the leadership team present their areas of expertise, sparking in-depth discussions.

The Emerging Leaders Program at Saving Sight stands as a catalyst for developing the leaders of tomorrow. As the third class starts its journey, the program’s focus on leadership principles, strategy, and relational impact provides a comprehensive foundation for future leaders. The commitment to continuous improvement and knowledge transfer between current and emerging leaders fosters a culture of growth within the organization. With bi-weekly sessions immersing participants in diverse subjects and hands-on experiences, the program ensures not only the growth of knowledge but also the practical application of leadership skills.

2023 Impact Report

2023 Impact Report

2023 Impact Report

We worked to save sight for more individuals than ever during our 2022-2023 fiscal year! Check out our Impact Report to learn how we’re helping our community.

Charitable Grants Secure Saving Sight’s Legacy of Giving

In 1960, Saving Sight began restoring sight through charitable vision programs, matching the needs of local communities with a spirit of giving. While our program delivery has changed throughout that history, our legacy of giving continues to grow through our mission partners.
In 2021, Saving Sight’s board of directors established a board-designated quasi-endowment fund to support grants given to charitable organizations with a similar mission. During the first round of funding in 2021, three organizations were invited to apply: KidSight, Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service, Inc., and the ShowMe Eyeglass Recycling Program. Each group received funding from Saving Sight to expand their services and impact in the community.

KidSight, a program with a historical tie to Saving Sight, received the most funding, utilizing a $35,000 gift for general operating support to screen over 39,000 Missouri children for potential vision disorders. Of those children screened, 3,500 were identified to be at risk for problems like amblyopia. As part of their essential work, the KidSight team has established an enhanced follow-up process, helping families seek vision care for children as necessary.

Saving Sight also granted $15,000 in funding to the ShowMe Eyeglass Recycling Program, a nonprofit run by the Lions Clubs of District 26 M-7. This Missouri-based program serves as a collection point for recycled eyeglasses that are then read and sorted for use in medical mission trips worldwide. With grant funding, the group purchased two lensometers to read eyeglass prescriptions, a crucial part of preparing the donated glasses to go abroad. The Lions estimate that with this equipment purchase, they were able to serve 25,000 additional people worldwide.
Finally, Saving Sight granted $10,000 in funding to Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Services, a nonprofit out of Tennessee that provides medical services for needy vision-impaired people in our region. With funding from Saving Sight, the organization provided direct care to 16 patients from Missouri for various eye care and surgical costs. Upon reviewing reports from these three organizations, Saving Sight’s board of directors voted to renew grants in June 2023, adding one additional nonprofit to the mix. The following grants were made at the end of this fiscal year:

  • KidSight – $43,000
  • ShowMe Lions Eyeglass Recycling – $5,000
  • Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Services – $5,000
  • Missouri Lions Eye Mission Program – $7,000