Episode 113

How We Can See the Ripple Effect of Our Stories

I’m running TEDx Santa Barbara in 2017 with my husband Mark. Our committee is gathering to select the speakers for the upcoming event, and we’re going through hundreds of applications.

One particular application stands out with a bold statement. It claims that half of all blindness in the world is just a 10-minute surgery away from being cured.

That’s an idea that absolutely deserves to be heard far and wide. But is it real? Is it actually possible?

To find out, we interview the doctor behind the idea and discover that not only is it real, but it’ll change cataract surgery as we know it! We unanimously invite him to speak at our TEDx event.

And now, I’ve invited that incredible doctor onto the Storytelling School podcast. In this episode, I talk with our very special guest Dr. Jeffrey Levenson about what has changed since his TEDx Talk in 2017, how one person who watched his Talk was inspired to fund 10000 eye surgeries and the remarkable story behind his passion for affordable and accessible cataract surgery to all. He answers questions like:

How does the rate of blindness in poor communities affect the story of those around them? What happened to him recently that changed the trajectory of his story and that of a thousand people (and potentially more)? What are doctors doing overseas for just $50 to change the story for blind people in poor countries (and is it happening in the U.S., too)?

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What the essence of a story is
  • Why you should never give up on telling your story
  • What makes for the most impactful stories

Who is Dr. Jeffrey Levenson?

Jeffrey Levenson, MD is a Florida based eye surgeon and the founder of Jacksonville’s Gift of Sight Program, a program that has for over 30 years assured that no one in North Florida is blind for want of a cataract surgery, regardless of their ability to pay. He’s also the Chief Medical Officer of SEE International, a Santa Barbara based charity dedicated to the end of needless blindness around the world. He has spent the last ten years working around the globe to promote a re-engineered variant of cataract surgery that’s less expensive, equally effective, and suitable to low resource communities. Half of all the blindness in the world is people who need a 10 minute surgery. It doesn’t have to be that way. His TEDxSanta Barbara Talk points the way.

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