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Why The “South Dakota Lions Eye and Tissue Bank” is now “Dakota Lions Sight and Health”

Feb 21, 2016 02:10PM ● By Alex Strauss

By Alex Strauss


If you have been in the area for more than a handful of years, you probably remember that the South Dakota Lions Eye and Tissue bank adopted this name in 2012 to better reflect its growing involvement in tissue (not just corneal) recovery and distribution.


After all, the former Lions Eye Bank also recovers bone and skin, tendons, heart valves, and veins for transplantation. Experts there also prepare corneas for advanced surgical procedures, work closely with local and national research partners, provide public education about organ and tissue donation, and even offer EMS training. Calling themselves an “eye bank” just did not cover it.


Now, the organization is rebranding itself once again to reflect an expansion of its service area and of its mission to restore the gifts of both sight and better health.


“We had an increased need for corneal tissue and at the same time the eye bank in North 

 Dakota was struggling because of regulatory changes,” says Dakota Sight and Health CEO Marcy Dimond. “Partnering with an agency that had a local presence and a similar mission not only helped us meet our demand but also helped to grow their program.”


Since implementing the partnership with North Dakota in 2015, the organization has consolidated staff to a single headquarters in Sioux Falls with satellite offices in Rapid City, Bismarck and Fargo. More importantly, it has doubled the number of corneas coming from North Dakota and increased distribution by 48 percent in 18 months.


“Part of reframing the name was to better identify the region that we serve and to really raise up our mission by keeping it front and center,” says Dimond.


Meanwhile, Dakota Lions Sight and Health continues to expand the scope of its services and its tissue recovery efforts. The organization works closely with law enforcement, coroners, and with hospice to identify tissue donation opportunities that might otherwise  be missed when an individual dies in a setting other than the hospital.


Anxious to stay on the leading edge of up-and-coming fields such as cancer research and genomics, DLSH is also committed to keeping as much tissue as possible in the Dakotas.


“This is an exciting time for us as we continue to grow and renew our focus on our communities,” says Dimond.