By Lisa PAREDES
Members of the Beeve Foundation recently completed their 23rd eye care mission to Fiji, and presented photos and testimonials from their medical trip at the annual Foundation dinner on Sunday, Sept. 14. held at the Oakmont Country Club in Glendale. The Foundation also elected a new president of the board as part of the annual meeting.
Headed by founder Dr. Jerold Beeve, a Glendale-based ophthalmologist, the Beeve Foundation has been making annual trips to Fiji since 1991, providing free eye care including surgery, eye exams and glasses.
During this most recent trip, the team of doctors and medical personnel from the U.S. and Australia performed 138 cataract extractions with lens implants and nine additional surgeries. They also gave 651 eye exams and dispensed 811 pairs of glasses at their new medical facility at Nadi Public Hospital.
The Fiji Ministry of Health had asked for the Beeve Foundation team to move their setup to this new location from the island where they had been working in previous years.
“It was an intense, huge move,” said Dorothy Beeve, a registered nurse who assists her husband’s medical team and who also helped found the organization.
Jerold and Dorothy Beeve were accompanied on this eight-day trip by ophthalmologists Dr. Scott Beeve and Dr. Ervin Fang.
Anesthesiologist Dr. Anis Yusuf and Kate Sauer, R.N., both from Australia, also joined the mission, along with certified occupational therapist Marta Vallez and Dr. Jennifer Merkel.
Jackie and Harry Powell, who live in Fiji, also joined this mission to help and have worked with the Beeve Foundation medical trips for 10 years, according to Dorothy.
“Our 23rd mission opened its doors in Nadi Public Hospital on Aug. 11 and we broke all records for cataract surgery,” said Dr. Jerold Beeve. “Most days, we worked 12-14 hours with maybe a five-minute lunch break.”
At the annual Foundation dinner and meeting, longtime Foundation Charter President Douglas Albright resigned after 24 years. James Jensen, a member for the past five years, was elected as the new president of the Beeve Foundation board.
Jerold’s book, “Praying With My Eyes Wide Open,” details the story of how he and his wife came to organize the annual missions to provide free eye care to the people of Fiji, along with stories of their adventures and challenges throughout the years.
Over the past 23 years, the Beeve Foundation has given 27,532 eye exams and dispensed 26,392 pairs of eyeglasses. The doctors have performed 1,464 cataract surgeries with lens implants, 43 corneal transplants and 38 corrective procedures for children with crossed eyes.
They have also performed a total of 340 surgeries for pterygium, or surfer’s eye, a condition that often affects people who spend a lot of time out of doors, along with 104 miscellaneous surgeries.
More information on the Beeve Foundation can be found on its website fiji4sight.org.