I Rosa Gutierrez, mother of Jesus Hernandez, am sending you this note to thank you for the financial assistance provided to my son with the purchasing of a new eye prosthetic. We are very grateful to you and I am very happy with your foundation,that thanks to this and to you, I was able to receive this great help towards my son. Now my son is very happy, and so are we. My son’s happiness is our happiness. For this and much more we will forever be grateful to your Lions Club Foundation and I hope that the type of assistance given to my son could be provided to more people who really need it. Thank you is an understatement to express my gratitude for what you did for us, may you and the Lions Club Foundation continue to be blessed.
It all started when he was about 13. Evan was having difficulty playing baseball. He couldn’t see the ball when it came over the plate, and when he did swing, the ball was above his head but he thought it was chest high. It was obvious that something was wrong, and we took him to his pediatric doctor. He told us that he needed to go see a specialist, and was diagnosed with KERATOCONUS. WE WERE TOLD THAT EVAN MAY EVENTUALLY LOSE HIS EYESITE.
We looked for someone to treat him but no one would accept our ACCCHS (Medicaid) plan. We were told that Evan needed special contacts and that they were very expensive, He could not wear soft ones or glasses, they must be hard lenses. The only doctor in the valley that treats this condition wanted $250 up front in cash, and the special contacts would be around $1,500 a set. As he grows older he would need several additional pairs. We couldn’t afford the treatment at the time and didn’t know what to do.
We informed all of our relatives and a few weeks later my sister found a doctor in California, and he agreed to treat Evan if we would be participants in his research study. We agreed and all went fine for a few years. Evan got the special contacts and was able to see about 20/25 with them.
A few years went by and Evan had a regular yearly checkup. The doctor showed us an experimental procedure to prevent the eye shape from changing and the cornea from degenerating and losing additional eyesight. He told us that he was waiting for the FDA to approve this procedure on minors as Evan wasn’t 18 yet. We waited for over a year without approval. At the next checkup the doctor called us after we had left the office and told us Evans eye shape was changing and his eyesight was deteriorating. The new procedure was going to cost over $8,000 and it would not be covered under any insurance. I tried submitting some paperwork from doctor’s office telling the insurance company that this procedure was necessary, however they denied it.
Evan’s grandmother decided to call channel 12 news “be a hero” program. Through their story an eye surgeon in Scottsdale (Dr. Jay SCHWARTZ) saw the story and called us and asked how he could help. He did the surgery and it was successful. The Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation was made aware of Evan’s situation and wanted to meet Evan and work with the family and Dr. Schwartz to help cover the cost of the surgery. The foundation was able to help defray a portion of the surgery cost.
Evan will still require additional surgery after he turns 18. He needs an intraocular lens replacement. Evan is currently doing well and wants to study Japanese and become a computer science engineer. He plays golf and works and loves his job. He can now see the ball when he plays golf.