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Stanna Frampton's Journey with Hope Alliance

Stanna Frampton is one of those special individuals who finds joy in making a difference in the lives of others. She said that it’s just who she is and how she was raised. “It fulfills me in a lot of different ways,” Frampton says. “Just seeing - literally - the difference you can make… it would be devastating to me if I didn’t do what I could to give back.”

As a mother and grandmother, Frampton has spent her life taking care of her family.  But recently she felt the need to do more.  Her friend, a long-time Hope Alliance volunteer, originally told her about the Hope Alliance expeditions.  Frampton did her research and from there she was hooked.  Frampton has now been volunteering for Hope Alliance for about two years, first joining an expedition to Mexico, then to Uganda, then volunteering close to home at the Hope Alliance Vision Clinic as well as vision screenings for preschoolers, both in Park City. She’s been surprised by the need in Wasatch and Summit Counties. “It is unconscionable that people in our own community don’t have access to vision care,” she says.

A vision clinic in Puerto Penasco, Mexico, was Frampton’s first experience as a true hands-on volunteer. In 2022, she joined a 3-day vision expedition. “Training for this expedition was extensive,”says Frampton, including coursework and homework. “The homework made me a lot more comfortable and allowed me to better understand the process,” she says.

In Mexico, patients traveled two or three hours or more, usually by car, just to get to the clinic, then waited in line, sometimes for hours, to be seen by the Hope Alliance staff and optometrist. At the clinic, Frampton was responsible for operating the tonometer to test eye pressure. She was hesitant because the machine must touch the eye, and she worried about mistakenly hurting patients. She got more comfortable with training, and even became efficient. “I had the opportunity to really make a difference for people since nobody else wanted to do that job,” she says.

Frampton had such an eye-opening experience (pun intended), she knew she would volunteer again. “I was so impressed with what Hope Alliance does for these people,” she says. “We’re making a big difference - we’re doing something that lasts a lifetime.”  

Following her experience in Mexico, Frampton traveled again with Hope Alliance in 2023, this time to Bwindi, Uganda. It was a very different experience.  In Mexico, the eye clinic was sanitary and had bathrooms and running water. The patients traveled by car with the help of family and friends. In Bwindi, Uganda, the pop-up clinic was housed in an abandoned building with no running water or indoor plumbing. Each day, dozens of people walked hours to get to the clinic just to be seen by an eye doctor. 

“The need was great there, it was unbelievable,” she says. The volunteers primarily worked on dispensing reading eyeglasses to the patients. “I think we helped around 1,400 people, especially elderly people,” she says.

There were some cases in Uganda that were just tragic. Frampton recalls one patient trying to read the eye chart using one eye and she could not see anything. “She was young, she was beautiful, and she was completely blind in one eye,” Frampton said. It turned out that she had a detached retina and there was nothing the doctor could do to correct it. “It was just so sad,” Frampton says. “There were many tears that were shed in Uganda over things that didn't come up at our clinic in Mexico.” These permanent vision impairments possibly could have been prevented had patients had ready access to critical vision care.

Frampton says she has become more aware of people living without essential services. “I see an incredible need for eyecare everywhere. If the Wasatch Back needs help, can you imagine what lower income areas around the world must need.”

Frampton hopes the organization can boost fundraising to hire more staff and doctors. She has seen the need first-hand, abroad and right here in Park City, and she looks forward to Hope Alliance expanding its reach so she and the team can help even more people.

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