- MARK TOSH
Pro Football’s Ideal Focus: Von Miller’s Foundation Provides Eyewear to Denver Children
DENVER—There’s been an overload of talk about football players the past few days as the National Football League conducted its annual draft of the top college prospects. Some of this talk centered around the debate over whether the Cleveland Browns made the right decision in drafting quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 choice in the draft and/or whether the New York Giants SHOULD have selected a quarterback with their pick. Who knows? It’s all just talk right now anyway. But what we do know is that one current professional football player did something this past week that REALLY does matter. Von Miller, a standout member of the Denver Broncos defense, held what is referred to as “Reveal Day” at the team’s Mile High Stadium. This is the day Miller’s foundation, Von’s Vision, provides corrective eyewear to area children. The kids received eye exams in late March at Hellerstein & Brenner in Greenwood Village, Colo., one of the sponsors of Von’s Vision. Most of the kids who attend the event have never owned a pair of glasses while struggling with vision problems. Over the past five years, Miller has helped more than 500 Denver-area students receive new corrective eyeglasses from his foundation, according to the foundation’s website.
Von’s Vision was founded in 2012. In addition to Hellerstein & Brenner, the “premier level” sponsors of the foundation are Essilor, Oakley, and Bolle. For a complete list of Von’s Vision sponsors, click here. Miller is an ideal spokesman for eyecare and eyewear, since he has needed vision correction throughout most of his football-playing career. His vision is 20/475 in one eye and 20/500 in the other, according to reports, and he’s also very involved and cognizant of frame designs.
This past week, Miller went a step beyond his typical helpful self and provided Jonathan Sykes, 12 years old, a special surprise, according to the player’s website. “Jonathan has long struggled with his vision, so much so that he has different visual acuity in both the right and left eye. Not only has the different visual acuity caused Jonathan massive headaches due to eye strains, but it has made it hard for him to see the chalkboard during school and to participate in sports after school,” the website noted.
The doctors recommended that Jonathan attend vision therapy twice a week and wear contact lenses with a different prescription for each eye. “The high cost of the therapy sessions and contact lenses and having to leave school early to attend the sessions made it difficult for Jonathan and his family to receive the help that Jonathan needed to correct his vision,” the website noted. As a result, he started to borrow eyeglasses from his friends. “When Von learned that Jonathan was borrowing eyeglasses, Von immediately wanted to plan a surprise of a lifetime for Jonathan to give him his new fashionable corrective eyeglasses,” the website said. “On Tuesday, Von did just that. He walked into a private suite at Sports Authority Field at Mile High and surprised Jonathan by hand delivering his new pair of eyeglasses. The private surprise didn’t stop there. Von presented Jonathan with a year’s supply of contact lenses and a signed Miller jersey.” So while football fans from coast to coast were blabbing about this and that and who and when, Denver Bronco Von Miller was taking steps to have a positive impact on others. As his website noted, “For Von, life is bigger than the game of football and it is the impact he leaves off the field that is important for him.”