Retinoblastoma is the most common cancer of the eye among children, if diagnosed and treated early; children with retinoblastoma have an excellent prognosis. But the treatment is complicated, involving surgery, radiation treatment and multiple cycles of chemotherapy and blood replacement – treatment which is too expensive for most Indian families. Aravind doctors volunteer their time, but the donations received from Global Giving help us pay specialists and provide blood replacement and medication.
Today we would like to share with you a story of one of the patients who received free treatment at Aravind with the help of your support. The parents of a one year old child (patient) whose right eye was enucleated due to retinoblastoma; however the left eye was cured at Aravind Eye Hospital were thankful to all.
Rajesh (real name shielded), a one year old child, was brought to Aravind Eye Hospital -Madurai for a checkup when he developed a white spot on his right eye. After preliminary examination, a CT Scan was taken and the report confirmed retinoblastoma in the eye. The parents were informed and advised chemotherapy for the child. The shocked parents consented for the treatment which was given once in 23 days. In spite of the prolonged chemotherapy, the tumor could not be cured and the right eyeball had to be enucleated. By that time the disease had spread to the left eye however, it was in the initial stage.One could understand the agony and grief of the parents to whom Rajesh was the only child. When chemotherapy was started on the second eye, they prayed and waited with hope that the eye will be saved somehow, so that the child’s life will not become gloomy.When Rajesh was in his second year, his left eye was examined and the tumor was still there in a small size. Then it was given laser treatment and chemotherapy was also continued. On his second birthday, doctor examined his left eye and found the tumor completely cured. This good news sent the parents to the height of joy and they thanked God and the doctor for retaining the paradise of vision (atleast in one eye) for their son. They were advised to bring the baby for a follow up once in 3 months.In the meanwhile Rajesh’s right eye socket was fixed with a prosthetic eye ball which looked like a normal eye. On seeing this, the parents felt as if he had regained the original eye. Now, the gloom of despondency in the small family has disappeared with the dawn of a bright light of joy.
Aravind Eye Care System is thankful to all the donors who join hands with Aravind in providing free treatment to the underserved and help further their mission of “eliminating needless blindness”.
Aravind Eye Care System would like to thank our Global Giving donors for their support for restoring eye sight for many children suffering from retinoblastoma or eye cancer. The funds received for the year 2011 were allocated to fund eye surgery and treatment for 44 children covered under the Ring of Hope program in the Madurai area(Tamilnadu -India).
Established in 2004, the Ring of Hope Program helps patients, most often children, who have life- threatening cancers like retinoblastoma. Retinoblastoma is the most common cancer of the eye among children and is responsible for over five percent of the blindness among children in India. With a rate of incidence of one in 15,000 infants, India has one of the largest numbers of retinoblastoma patients in the world. If left untreated, the disease can cause permanent blindness and death. If diagnosed and treated early, children with retinoblastoma have an excellent prognosis. But the treatment is complicated, involving surgery, radiation treatment and multiple cycles of chemotherapy and blood replacement – treatment which is too expensive for most Indian families. Aravind doctors volunteer their time, but your support help us to pay specialists and provide blood replacement and medication.
Under this program Aravind provided free treatment and surgery to all the patients and restored sight for most of these children who would not be able to afford this treatment with our your support.
Dr. V. welcomed change, and was constantly challenging himself and those around him to find new solutions to an old problem – needless blindness.
Friends of Aravind is changing, too, and in the coming months, we will launch our new web site and new name, Aravind Eye Foundation. While we will always be friends, the new name underlines the critical relationship that our supporters have with the people and activities of Aravind Eye Care System in India and around the world. Without your assistance, Aravind would not be able to extend its model of self-sustaining, compassionate care to new areas of development. Change takes some time, so if you are planning to remember Aravind in your year-end giving, please still write checks to Friends of Aravind
Your Donations at Work
Aravind is internationally renowned for its self-sustaining model of compassionate care – no one is turned away on the basis of ability to pay. Your donations make it possible for us to help those who need extensive and long-term treatment and to provide food and housing for patients and their families who must travel many miles to reach an Aravind hospital. Thanks to your generous donations, Aravind Eye Foundation supported the following patient care projects:
Ring of Hope Fund:
Twelve children suffering from devastating eye cancers received treatment at Aravind completely free of cost, including radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery, as well as room and board for the patient and family.
Food for Sight: 2000 camp patients received food during their three-day-stay for free cataract surgery at Aravind hospitals.
Youth Vision Project: 2000 school children in the Pondicherry area were screened for refractive errors and about 600 children have received free spectacles as of September 2010.
Many more children are scheduled to receive free spectacles in the next few months.
Research Fellowships: Two Fellows, who are researching infections and genetic diseases of the eye prevalent in India, received grants to support their work. Their research focuses on identifying possible causes of these various diseases and improved methods of prevention and treatment.Your Donations at Work
For more news about Aravind Eye Care System, please visit the link for the news letter -Journey Towards Light.
Warmest regards, The Board of Aravind Eye Foundation