Diamond DeShields was 15 when she was diagnosed with keratoconus and got her first pair of eyeglasses.
She remembers putting on her glasses and staring up at the leaves. It was the first time in her life they weren’t blurry.
“I told my mom, ‘Wow I can see the leaves on the trees,’ ” DeShields said.
On Friday, DeShields was the picture of joy watching kids and families put on their brand 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 space in need. I live down here, this is my community. I can’t live here and not do something to positively impact the lives around me.”
When DeShields partnered with Oakley, one of the first conversations she had with the company was about having an event that provided free eye exams. After two years in the making, DeShields said it was fulfilling to see the clinic sponsored by Oakley, in partnership with OneSight, finally come to fruition.
The two-day event was the first in a series of vision clinics Oakley will sponsor in 2021, and it provided over 120 free eye exams. Most participants in the clinic received prescribed eyeglasses on-sight.
OneSight, a global vision nonprofit, provided a mobile, state-of-the-art van equipped with a vision center and optical lab. Multiple optometrists, opticians and associates from Oakley were on hand to guide participants through the process.
“I’ve been getting emails from the 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 thankful I didn’t have to call and make an appointment at a doctor's office to get both of my kids glasses.”
Berry and her son, who just graduated from eighth grade at KIPP, have both had glasses for years. Her daughter, who is in primary school, was getting her first pair on Friday. An added bonus of the day was getting to play basketball with DeShields and some of her 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 friends that used to squint all through school. They couldn't afford eyeglasses,” Wade said. “You think it's a way of life. You come to understand it handicaps your potential to a point. For us to witness one of our players partnering with OneSight and Oakley to help correct those things that are a privilege to some and not to others was really big.”