There are those who talk about doing good and nothing ever comes of it, there are those who do good and need to boast, and then there are people like Dr. Laura Chisholm. If you’ve encountered Laura, you will know she is an individual who selflessly acts in the best interests of others without a mention of it from her.
Many Pincher Creek residents would recognize Laura as their optometrist, others know her in a different capacity, but anyone who is familiar with her is aware of her kind soul and giving nature.
This month, Dr. Chisholm is celebrating her 10-year anniversary working at Pincher Creek Eye Clinic. To mark the occasion, she is doing something very on-brand — giving.
She will be donating a portion of her September sales to Fighting Blindness Canada, a non-profit organization that raises money and awareness to support Canadians who suffer from blindness. To date, the group has contributed over $40 million for sight-saving research.
“The hardest part of this job is telling people that they have something wrong with their eyes, that they won’t be able to see like they used to and nothing can really be done about it,” Laura says.
“This charity works on research into new cures for these problems that otherwise don’t have a cure.”
Beyond her kind nature, Laura has a personal connection to vision quality. A genetic eye condition runs in her family, providing a unique personal perspective on the importance of sight.
“I have watched so many people struggle with vision loss and fluctuation of vision. In my family, it’s been a tough struggle, so I wanted to help prevent vision loss from happening,” she says.
Laura has been asked many times why she didn’t pursue ophthalmology, as her family was often taken care of by ophthalmologists. She felt, though, that this wasn’t the best way she could help people with their vision.
“I wanted to be more on the front lines to catch things early, or give people tools ahead of time to try and help prevent this vision loss from happening,” she says.
According to office manager Chelsey Olson, Laura’s sentiments only reinforce what everyone at the eye clinic already knew about the kind-hearted optometrist.
“Her patients just adore her. She’s so highly sought after and everyone wants to see Dr. Chisholm, and I think it’s because she’s so giving and compassionate. She spends so much time on her patients because she actually cares so much,” Chelsey says.
“She has spent several nights after hours, her own personal time, advocating for patients, researching options for patients and bringing her findings to them, and they’ll have no clue she was even doing it.”
Laura began working alongside Dr. Bart Anderson, previous owner of the clinic, joining the practice straight out of the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry and Vision Science.
She speaks highly of Bart’s influence on her career and the way she handles patients, and of what his teachings meant to her.
“He is a very compassionate, caring man. His guidance was invaluable as I was arriving in a new community, and helping me establish myself as a new practitioner,” she says.
Eventually, Bart sold the clinic to his son, Dr. Dave Anderson. Laura notes her gratitude toward Dave as well, citing how the new ideas and treatments he’s brought to the table have provided her priceless knowledge to support her patients.
Dave, on the other hand, expresses that Laura’s charitable intentions are “totally par for the course for her.”
“She’s just someone who provides care, and I don’t just mean great eye care, I mean just care in general. She just has such a huge heart and just loves everybody,” he says.
“She’d give the shirt off her back to help someone, and I think that goes a long way with our patients. Everybody who comes into our clinic feels her kindness and love and concern. She’s just an amazing person to work with.”
Dr. Chisholm extends her gratitude to her supportive team at the clinic, who “make coming to work a joy” for the giving optometrist, and her patients for their support during her 10 years at Pincher Creek Eye Clinic.