Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser: Dr. Sergul Erzurum
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Dr. Sergul Erzurum, a vice president and partner at Eye Care Associates, is being recognized as the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser for her work with Sight for All United.
Erzurum, who is a surgeon and pediatric ophthalmologist, co-founded the not-for-profit entity, which focuses on connecting people with vision services regardless of their ability to pay.
While attending Northeast Ohio College of Medicine, the Boardman native says she spent a summer working with an ophthalmologist in Canton who made a deep impression.
“He was just a wonderful role model,” she says. “After 30 years in practice, he still smiled and said he loved what he did and would do it all over again.”
Erzurum says her practice allows her to care for people from birth to old age. And while she likes dealing with patients of all ages, she enjoys helping children the most “because of the huge impact you make on their future.”
Sight for All United was founded by Erzurum and Karen Segesto in 2016 as a clearinghouse to help patients who were suffering financial hardships. The organization was approached in 2017 by the nurse for the Youngstown Community School, who said she had 95 students who had failed their school vision screenings and needed eye exams. Sight for All United collaborated with Classic Optical Laboratories, United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley and volunteer eye doctors to get the students examined and connected with corrective eyewear.
Over the years, the program has expanded into more schools and added a vision van – for which $1.5 million was raised – that in one school year provided screenings for 12,000 children and 1,800 pairs of glasses. Other partners have joined over the years, including Mercy Health and the Cafaro Foundation.
“The impact Dr. Erzurum has had in our community is impressive. But it is the gift of sight provided to every student that is profound,” says Dr. Jenifer Lloyd, a Boardman dermatologist, who was one of the individuals who nominated Erzurum.
“We feel good that we are getting into the schools and correcting correctable vision loss,” Erzurum says. “If you look at 95% of first-graders who are nonreaders, they have a correctable vision problem.”
Pictured at top: Dr. Sergul Erzurum co-founded Sight for All United.