“You guys were there when I had nowhere else to go.”
Photo: Anne Fishbein
Tim Seward was working as a bartender in Tustin when he noticed a change in his eyesight. “It was like a curtain fell over my vision,” he remembers.
He assumed he needed glasses, and headed to an optometrist. The optometrist sent him to an ophthalmologist, who sent him to another doctor, who sent him on to yet another. He ended up seeing three doctors in one day. “I kept getting referred, till I got to a retinal consultant. That’s when I figured it was a really serious thing.
“I could tell something was really wrong. I was diagnosed with retinal detachment in both eyes.”
That was pretty scary, because Tim had no health insurance. He had no way to pay for the surgery he needed, and he now faced the terrifying prospect of going blind at the age of 27.
His workplace had an emergency fund, and he submitted the paperwork to ask for help. “They never got back to me.”
“I was trying to do any research I could do. I looked into doing a payment program, but no luck. They only cared about getting the dollars right away. I set up a GoFundMe campaign, hoping to raise the money I needed that way.”
While trying to raise the money, Tim got in touch with a former boss who lived in his hometown of Big Bear. He hadn’t realized that his old mentor was a Lion, but that was his lucky break. “He said to contact you guys.”
Tim contacted LSH. “I submitted my paperwork; within a couple of days I got approved and got an appointment at the Pacific Eye Institute. They scheduled me within a week.” Within a month, Tim had surgery on both eyes.
When all this happened to him, Tim had been going through a somewhat aimless period. He had dropped out of college, and didn’t really know what his next move would be.
Six months ago, Tim had a follow-up appointment with his doctor. “He said everything was good,” Tim says.
And now, with a big scare behind him, he had found new motivation. He is back in school, studying environmental engineering at Fullerton City College. “It changed my perspective,” Tim says. “It made me want to go back to school again.” He has two more semesters to go, and has maintained a GPA of 3.8.
“I want to work in conservation, help preserve the planet for future generations.”
He’ll always be grateful to LSH, he says. “You guys were there when I had nowhere else to go.”