President's Message

History Teaches That We Sell Ourselves Short

Roger Bannister, a 25-year-old, little-known medical student in England, made history in 1954 when he ran the mile in under 4 minutes. Elite runners had been trying for years to crack the 4-minute barrier. Some observers speculated that such a feat was impossible. People could run only so fast. They believed we had reached the limits of speed. When Bannister broke the tape about half a second under 4 minutes, spectators erupted in pandemonium. The improbable had happened. Yet here is something ever more astonishing: within five years of his feat, more than 100 people had done it. Today it’s done almost routinely.

What we think is nearly impossible often can be quite achievable. This applies to Lions. It always has. It especially does now that Lions are partnering with the GAVI Alliance to protect tens of millions of children from measles, which kills 160,000 people every year. Most of them are under the age of 5. How incredibly sad. That has been the reality–but not any longer. We will speed ahead, break the tape and make sure children and adults do not die needlessly.

I tell Lions to Follow Your Dream. Bannister did. Every great person and group does. Lions are great, and perhaps the most consequential actions we take are through the Lions Clubs International Foundation, which is spearheading the measles campaign. Our service is multiplied exponentially through LCIF. Our foundation is how we pool our resources and channel our good will.

Please continue to support  LCIF. Your service in your own community is invaluable. Your support of LCIF lifts Lions into a whole new realm of possibilities. Let’s dream big, reach for the stars and stamp out measles.

Barry J. Palmer

Your Lions Clubs International President

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