I developed Stevens Johnson Syndrome a year ago, leaving my eyes drastically damaged. My eye doctor at Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary recommended BFS in Needham. A couple weeks later I was in an appointment with Dr. Lynette Johns and soon after, fitted for PROSE devices. That was the best decision I have ever made. This place helped me regain my sight, I would recommend it to anyone.
How does one measure the greatness of an organization? We could ask how many lives it has touched, but that really only tells us about the size of its reach and not its greatness. We could assess the importance of the issue(s) it works to resolve, but doesn't that really only tell us about what it values, and why is what one group values greater than that of another? The way I have come to appreciate the greatness of the Boston Foundation for Sight (BFS) is by listening to its patients. I have never in my 20+ years of working for and with non profit organizations witnessed a more grateful group of patients.
Consider their Stevens Johnson Syndrome patients. Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a physically brutal allergic reaction that can ravage the cornea. People who experience SJS, essentially burn victims, have been poked and prodded often to the point of having traumatic stress reactions to an eye doctor appointment. And here is where the staff at the Boston Foundation for Sight achieve their greatness. They are patient, they are kind and they earn their way into the hearts and eyes of patients.
Patients use words like encouraging, compassionate, safe and miraculous to describe BFS and its staff. And, it's not just some of the patients that say this, is many, many, many of the patients that say this. And they don't just say it in surveys and in planned personal testimonies (though they do), they say it to the staff and to their friends and family and to one another.
The fact that patients get to share their thoughts with each other is another way BFS has earned its greatness. It is not uncommon for SJS patients to go through life never meeting another person with SJS and this can translate into great loneliness for many SJS patients. They've been suddenly traumatized, practically blinded and left to figure out how to navigate in their new physical condition essentially alone. BFS's response to this reality was to start holding annual SJS Kids Weeks, hosting children with SJS and their families for a week of treatment, therapeutic conversations and fun and games with other people dealing with exactly what they are dealing with. What happens during that week is nothing short of restorative to the body, mind and soul.
And, it isn't just SJS patients that love their experience with BFS, it's all of their patients. So, how do I measure the greatness of the Boston Foundation for Sight? I listen to the people that know: the people that receive their services.