KAMLOOPS — People suffering with mental illness may find it difficult to access or afford healthcare services.
Through the United Way's Day of Caring dozens of clients of the Canadian Mental Health Association were brought into Ebata Eyecare for a free eye exam.
"From my opinion, if the community supports me, you have to find a way to support the community as well," Dr. Russell Ebata said.
Ebata Eyecare was participating in a Day of Caring for the second year in a row.
"Days of Caring are coordinated by United Way," explained United Way Community Campaign Manager Sarah Sandholm, "and it's really about connecting local agencies with businesses that can help them fulfill a need that's just not in the budget for them. Usually it's really project based: painting, landscaping. So this project is unique in that people are coming to the optometrist and getting a really useful service provided to them."
"The United Way is really good," Ebata said, "they organize all of the patients or clients for us, and they pre-screen people who really are in need. In Kamloops we think of such an amazing place to live, but there are people here that do need a lot of help, and I think that it's great to bring awareness to that and everybody can do their part in their own way and make Kamloops a better place for everybody."
Some patients hadn't seen the optometrist in more than a decade, and were fitted for a brand new pair of glasses, which they will receive for free.
"I don't think of it as a way of losing money," Ebata said. "It's just an amazing experience and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again tomorrow even, but we're going to continue to make it an annual event for sure."
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