Vision Health Alliance is proud to announce the grand prize winner of the #seebeyond2020 contest! In October 2019, Vision Health Alliance launched a contest to capture and feature the stories of individuals whose lives were enhanced by visiting the eye doctor.
Patricia Burke of Summerville, S.C., the grand prize winner, submitted her daughter Gwendolyn’s story. The Burke family adopted Gwendolyn from China shortly before her 15th birthday. When her parents noticed she was squinting often, they asked her if she had trouble seeing and she told them she did. During her 13 years at an orphanage, there were no records of her ever having an eye exam.
“When we took her in for an eye exam, her vision was really bad,” Burke said. “Her seeing for the first time was nothing short of amazing. She danced, she clapped, she jumped and squealed! It touched all of our hearts that day.”
Since her eye exam and getting glasses, Burke reports Gwendolyn has flourished in school. Gwendolyn’s experience also inspired Burke to take her other children in for comprehensive eye exams, where she learned her other two daughters also needed vision correction.
“With my younger children, I plan to not only have their vision screened, but take them in for a real eye exam as soon as they are old enough,” Burke said. “I would encourage other parents to take their children in earlier for eye exams too.”
Through the #seebeyond2020 contest, we were inspired to hear stories like the Burke family’s. We hope they will inspire others to prioritize their vision health and schedule an annual comprehensive eye exam.
As the grand prize winner, Burke was awarded a $1,000 cash prize. A total of 9 additional winners were selected to receive a $25 cash prize. Winners were selected by a panel of six judges who reviewed all 1,900 entries. Criteria in winner selection included how well the eye health story communicated a life-changing impact of an eye exam and how well it conveyed how eye health contributes to the quality of life. Throughout the year 2020, Vision Health Alliance will continue to share more about these winners’ stories.