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A vision for VGH's Eye Care Centre

From left : Sister Marion (Rebekah Assembly), Dr. Fred Mikelberg (UBC & VGH), Brother Pasquale (IOOF), Brother Gordon (IOOF), Sister Carol (Rebekah Assembly), Sister Darlene (Rebekah Assembly), and Sister Marleen (Rebekah Assembly).

On November 22nd 2010 a small ceremony occurred in the Eye Care Centre, part of the Vancouver General Hospital complex, which supports the restoration of vision for many in British Columbia.

Dr. Fred Mikelberg, Professor & Head, Department of Ophthalmology, UBC & Vancouver, received a cheque for $25,000 on behalf of the Vancouver General Hospital & UBC Hospital Foundation, from Brother Gordon Moffat, Grand Master, representing the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), and an attending member of Victoria Lodge No.1.

This significant donation is the result of the vision and generosity of both the IOOF and Rebekah Assembly of British Columbia, and Rebekah and Odd Fellow officers were present to equally pass on the gift to Dr. Mikelberg.

Numbered among those present were Vice-President Marleen Powell, of Rebekah Assembly and five member Sisters, along with (past) Grand Master Brother Pasquale Giordano of the Jurisdiction of British Columbia, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Oblivious to the biting Arctic-level cold, all gathered for a warm reception, with refreshments, from the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.  

“Funding for the Eye Care Centre doesn’t rest on government,” explained Dr. Mikelberg.  “It’s donors like you who make the difference.”  Adding, “Cornea transplants depends on donors.”

Vancouver General Hospital has the only eye bank in BC, which counts on donated corneas which are then carefully screened and, once ensured healthy, the corneas are distributed to eye doctors throughout the Province. The Centre for Macular Research, which depends largely on endowments, and is located at the same premises, concentrates on research into the degeneration of the eye, a disease of aging.  Said to be one of the finest centres for macular disease, renovations are underway on the 3rd floor and IOOF donations will be used toward new labs and other vital projects. 

Despite today's difficult times, the IOOF and Rebekah Assembly have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to optical research over time. The two organizations see this as a significant part of their contribution to a civil society.

This presentation is a reminder of how positive things can be achieved by people ready to combine to fill some of the medical gaps not sufficiently supported by government funded health services.

The Odd Fellows Lodges 1 & 2 in Victoria, also support and donate to various projects and causes in the city to the benefit of people harshly affected by today’s difficult times. The Odd Fellows organization reports, with no surprise, that membership has been increasing in the past couple of years as a better understanding of Order and its goals filters into the media.

Further information about Odd Fellows can be found here and visit here for further information about the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. 

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