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The gift of sight

Most people probably wouldn’t give a second glance to the small, graceful, well-kept building off a side street across from the new Wal-Mart on north 60th Street. If they got close enough, they may notice the neat courtyard at the entrance, flanked by flags and a small, stately lion statue. But without stepping inside for a tour, it would be impossible to know the magic that takes place within these walls.

The building houses the South Dakota Lions Eye & Tissue Bank, an organization dedicated to restoring the gift of sight to as many people as possible. Staff members coordinate the collection and disbursement of hundreds of corneas annually. Last year, the organization helped process gifts from 456 donors, resulting in 230 successful transplants. The nonprofit’s efforts are funded by Lions clubs all over the state, including the Tea Lions.

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