Charity Spotlight: Belinda Petshow / Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation

by | Jun 18, 2020 | Charity Spotlight

An Eye-Opening Moment Inspires a Life-Long Commitment

Belinda Petshow, an independent financial advisor since 2008 and founder of Belinda Petshow Investment Services, admits to feeling a bit disappointed when she set out for her mission trip to Peru in 2017. As she had been packing for her trip, she and her family had received an invitation to a night of Blazer’s basketball, food, and drinks at a suite in the Moda Center. Instead of taking that offer, she was awaiting a delayed flight at Los Angeles International Airport. “At that time, I couldn’t imagine the miracles I would soon witness that would change my perspective forever,” said Petshow.

The purpose of Petshow’s trip was to set up a pop-up vision clinic for four days, as part of a collaboration with the Forest Grove Oregon Lions, the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation (OLSHF), and Pacific University’s College of Optometry. Accompanying her were ten optometry students, two doctors, and sixteen volunteers, including her husband and son.

“Because of the flight delay, we arrived later than planned. The clinic was supposed to open Monday at 9:00 AM, but we didn’t land until 4:00 AM the next day,” explained Petshow. “People were already lined up around the clinic. Many had waited through the night in the cold, rainy weather, which is typical in Peru during the spring.”

Petshow, who is bilingual in Spanish, served as an interpreter and was responsible for managing the speed of patient inflow. “I helped to funnel patients to the various stations based on their needs. Some people had severe eye infections and needed to see a doctor immediately, while others could wait a little longer for vision screenings,” said Petshow.

The last station at the clinic was the dispensary, where patients could try different prescription glasses. Since most of the eyeglasses were donated, they were not labeled, and it often took trial and error to find the right pair.

“My husband and I were helping a young man in his twenties,” said Petshow. “We gave him several pairs of glasses until we finally found the right pair. The look on his face when he was finally able to see was incredible. Later, my husband asked me if I was still disappointed about missing the Blazers game and I could honestly tell him I wasn’t. Nothing could ever compete with what we witnessed.”

After the mission trip, Petshow became a trustee to OLSHF, a role that connected her even closer to what she had experienced in Peru. She works with other Lions Clubs throughout Oregon to help fundraise for the OLSHF’s eyeglass assistance, patient care programs, ROAR! Hearing assistance, and the School Vision Screenings program. The School Vision Screenings program is a unique partnership between OLSHF and the state of Oregon, which provides state-mandated vision screenings for all children in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Each year OLSHF assists volunteer optometrists with 600 annual on-site health screenings for a minimum of 180,000 children. OLSHF plans to continue with the School Vision Screenings program when the new school year starts in 2020. With no-touch screening technology, OLSHF can provide students with vision screening services while maintaining the minimum six-foot distance social distancing guideline.

Petshow has also served as a race director for Forest Grove Lions Club Run & Walk for Sight and Hearing for the past twelve years. The race will be held on November 21st this year as a Turkey Trot. The event is the club’s largest annual fundraiser and has raised $10,000 or more each year since 2013 for the OLSHF.

Petshow will never forget the moment her eyes became wide open to the needs of those who suffer from vision and hearing loss, and she invites you to do the same. To learn more about OLSHF and its mission, click here. To learn more about Belinda Petshow, click here.