According to Tom Bersani of the Skaneateles Lions Club, the mission of Lions Club International align well with many of his own ideals.
As an ophthalmologist, Bersani has given his time traveling to Central America to lend his support and resources to help those with vision problems.
It was during these travels that Bersani learned more about Lions Club.
“I never thought of myself as a person to join a club,” Bersani said. “But when I was in Central America, the local people were part of Lions Club and I was inspired to join.”
Bersani said it is funny that it took him traveling so far from home to learn about an organization right in his own community, but the important thing is he did learn about it and its mission.
A particular focus of Lions Club, locally, nationally and internationally, is the battle against blindness.
This is supported by various events and in Skaneateles this has taken the form of the Resolution Run for the past several years.
The run will return Jan. 1 at the Sherwood Inn with registration beginning at 10 a.m. and the run slated to begin at 11 a.m.
The run is broken into two separate options with a 5K and a 1.5 mile walk, which Bersani said should take 30 to 45 minutes to complete with participants welcome back at the Sherwood for chili and other refreshments.
“The route will give all a nice tour of our village including lake views, parks, new and older neighborhoods and historic churches,” Bersani said.
Funds raised through registration fees are used to support the various causes that the Lions Club supports, including vision research, international vision care and the Skaneateles Lake Association, Skaneateles Library, college scholarships for Skaneateles High School students, Friends in Service Here (FISH), Laker Limo, the Skaneateles Food Pantry, and this historical society and community band among others.
The Resolution Run, which is becoming a tradition in its own right, was inspired by another holiday tradition, the Turkey Trot. Bersani said he and others are longtime participants in the Turkey Trot.
Combining the idea of a holiday themed run and fundraiser with the new year, a time when many people are looking to turn over a new leaf, the Resolution Run was seemed like the kind of idea the Lions Club was looking for.
“I’ve been running in the Turkey Trot for 30 years,” Bersani said. “It has been great. We’ve had as many as 400 people there and it seems there are more each year. At the Lions Club we thought we might be able to do something similar and make it our own.”
Bersani said New Year’s Day runs are becoming more prevalent across the country, and over the past few years many people have made the Skaneateles run a part of their New Year.
Whether it is residents, people back home visiting for the holidays or runners from neighboring communities, the run has gained traction.
“Last year we were down a little,” Bersani said. “It was so cold I think that kept people indoors, but we usually have 100 to 200 people and I’d like to see around 500 people if we can. We get people from other communities who have made this a part of the New Year’s Day.”
Bersani said it is great to see the interest and the support the run is able to generate for the various organizations the Lions are involved with.
“The Lions is a service organization,” Bersani said. “Since the 1920s we have been focused on vision. Everything from collecting old eyeglasses to corneal transplants that is part of our mission. The Skaneateles Lions Club supports this effort on the local, national and international level according to Bersani.
“We are involved in Lion’s efforts nationally and internationally,” Bersani said. “But we are also very focused on the Skaneateles community. We help support a lot of local efforts. Our goal is to serve and lend our support where it is needed.”
Bersani said he also hopes the run will be a good start to 2019 for all participants.
“There are people who are looking for something fun to do and this is a fun way to get together with friends and family,” Bersani said. “Some people just like to run. Some people are just looking for a way to start the New Year and to start on a healthy note. I think there are a lot of people who make that resolution to be healthier and this is a great way to start that resolution on the right foot and at the same time do something for a good cause that helps support things right here in our own community.”
For more information or to register for the race, visit Skanlions.com. There is also same day registration at the Sherwood Inn, Bersani said.