The Lions clubs of Lions District 22-W (Western Maryland), which includes both the Thurmont (TLC) and Emmitsburg Lions Clubs, have recently completed a fundraising drive to purchase a custom class 3 bus that will be equipped to provide a number of basic health-screening functions. The unit will be fully self-contained and will include features such as on-board power generation and heating and air conditioning so that it can be set up on any reasonably level spot. The completed unit, including testing equipment, will cost in excess of $250,000, of which the Lions of District 22-W has raised half of the total cost. The balance will be covered by a community service matching grant from the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). This foundation is funded by donations from Lions Clubs around the world.
Lions Clubs International has a long history of supporting local healthcare activities. Currently, the Thurmont Lions Club conducts a health fair on a yearly basis at the community library. The Mobile Screening Unit (MSU) will be made available at no cost (other than fuel) to any Lions Club in the district for use at public events, such as community fairs, local health events, and so forth, where large numbers of local citizens come together. The completed unit will be equipped with six testing stations. Once placed into service, the MSU will be able to provide the following basic health checks: adult vision testing; youth vision screening (as young as one year in age); hearing screening; blood pressure and pulse rate; and blood-sugar levels. Additional tests such as internal eye pressure (glaucoma) and macular degeneration will probably be added in the future.
The Lions Clubs who use the MSU will not make any specific health diagnoses. Instead, they will notify the individual being screened (or a guardian) that there are indications of a potential health issue and recommend that the individual seek professional help for further diagnosis. In some cases, the clubs may be in a position to assist the referred individual to public health services if they do not have the necessary insurance to cover the costs of the recommended procedure.
Now that the funds are in place to order the MSU, District 22-W is working on raising money to cover the operating costs on an ongoing basis (insurance, license and registration, maintenance, supplies, etc.). Starting in January of 2023, the Thurmont Lions Club will be placing donation jars at various club events, such as the Christmas Extravaganza, bingo events, traditional health fair, etc.) to allow the community to help to place the valuable health-screening asset in regular service as a part of the annual TLC Make a Difference Day program.
At this time, it is hoped that the MSU can be placed in service before the end of 2023. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
Photo shows a Mobile Screening Unit currently in use in Virginia.