Diamond DeShields was 15 when she was diagnosed with keratoconus and got her first pair of glasses.
She remembers putting on her glasses and looking at the leaves. It was the first time in his life that they weren’t blurry.
“I said to my mom, ‘Wow I can see the leaves on the trees,” DeShields said.
On Friday, DeShields portrayed the joy of watching children and families put on their new glasses at KIPP Bloom College Prep because she understood on a visceral level how their lives would change.
“You see a need and you try to fill it,” DeShields said. “The South Side is a place in need. I live here, it is my community. I cannot live here without doing something that has a positive impact on the life around me.
When DeShields partnered with Oakley, one of the first conversations she had with the company was about hosting an event offering free eye exams. After two years of preparation, DeShields said it was gratifying to see the Oakley-sponsored clinic, in partnership with OneSight, finally come to fruition.
The two-day event was the first in a series of eye clinics that Oakley will sponsor in 2021, and it provided more than 120 free eye exams. Most of the clinic participants received prescription eyeglasses.
OneSight, a global vision nonprofit, provided a state-of-the-art mobile van equipped with a vision center and optical lab. Several Oakley optometrists, opticians and associates were on hand to guide participants through the process.
“I’ve been getting emails from school for about a month telling me they were going to have an event here,” said Deanna Berry, who was at KIPP with her son and daughter. “I was so grateful that I didn’t have to call and make a doctor’s appointment to get my two children’s glasses.”
Berry and his son, who just graduated from eighth grade at KIPP, have both been wearing glasses for years. Her daughter, who is in elementary school, received her first pair on Friday. An added bonus of the day was playing basketball with DeShields and some of his Sky teammates.
DeShields was joined by Azurá Stevens, Ruthy Hebard and Kahleah Copper as well as coach and general manager James Wade on Friday.
“I had cross-eyed friends throughout school. They couldn’t afford glasses, ”Wade said. “You think it’s a way of life. You understand that this handicaps your potential to some extent. For us, seeing one of our players teaming up with OneSight and Oakley to help fix these things that are a privilege for some and not for others was really important. ”