"Remarkable" aptly describes the people who support Operation Eyesight. Over the years, we have met many people who have a unique (and sometimes spectacular) approach to raising money for blindness treatment and prevention. Their stories have inspired many — we hope this next story is an inspiration to you. Read on…
Jenkyns family continues the founder's legacy
Art Jenkyns, the founder of Operation Eyesight, cared deeply about people in need. And today, his granddaughter maintains a profound concern for people threatened by blindness and poverty.
Young people in their 20’s and 30’s may be worlds apart from seniors in many ways, but according to Glenys Jenkyns, people of her generation are just as eager to reach across the miles to help people in need.
“We’re all in this together – we’re all related in some way. Even though we live in different places, we can still connect,” says Glenys. “It is so easy to help so many people, effortlessly. And it makes such a profound difference by providing them with sight.”
It’s a message that Glenys wishes to share with everyone, of all ages, from all walks of life. Like her grandfather before her, she speaks at schools and service clubs, her words energized by the clear and present needs, along with the power of Operation Eyesight’s response.
The daughter of Art’s oldest son, Tom, Glenys grew up in St. Catherine’s, Ontario, but has lived in Calgary for 10 years. As a registered nurse specializing in critical care, she is no stranger to complex medical issues. Operation Eyesight’s commitment to clinical quality and organizational sustainability impresses her because it brings effective treatment to individual people right now. But even more powerfully, this approach is able to prevent blindness in the long run, freeing entire communities from the fear of visual impairment.
Sustainable eye care was central to Art Jenkyns’ vision. At Operation Eyesight’s annual general meeting on May 20, Glenys described how, back in 1963, Art and his Calgary men’s group was originally asked by Dr. Ben Gullison to support an eye care project in India.
“Initially the group had said: ‘Well, we can contribute maybe $10 here and $10 there.’ And grandpa paused and said: ‘I think we can do better. I think we can develop a sustainable organization and keep this going and help tons of people.”
So began Operation Eyesight which has touched millions of lives. Art and his original group are mostly gone now, but a new generation is stepping forward and reaching out to the millions more.
Art Jenkyns, the founder of Operation Eyesight, passed away in 2005 leaving an enduring legacy. This legacy will be explored and celebrated throughout 2013, Operation Eyesight’s 50th anniversary year.