Rithikasri is a beautiful, sweet-natured child. She loves to run after her big brother, Diwakar. She first came to Aravind’s Orbit Clinic when she was 12 days old for an eye check-up. Her parents had been told to have her eyes checked regularly, because her brother had retinoblastoma – eye cancer -- three years earlier. One of his eyes had to be removed. Rithika’s mother had also had retinoblastoma when she was a child, and has an artificial eye. Rithika was lucky, and Aravind doctors were able to save her vision in both eyes, thanks to early diagnosis and treatment – and your donations. Today Rithikasri and her brother are both healthy and cancer-free!
As a mother of three daughters, I can easily imagine the heartache of hearing that my child has cancer. And,equally, the hope inspired by someone making a donation to provide treatment that I couldn’t possibly afford on my own. A full course of treatment for retinoblastoma – surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, blood transfusions, custom prosthesis, counseling – costs $1000. The average wage in India is $2 a day. Your donations are making a mother very happy. Thank you!
This Mother’s Day, I am making a donation to pay tribute to the mothers and their children who come to Aravind -- 912 and counting! Please give to your favorite cause and send a tribute card to the mothers in your life during Global Giving's Mother's Day Tribute Campaign.
Thank you for all your support and Happy Mother's Day!
Warmest regards, Donna Campbell, Executive Director, Aravind Eye Foundation
"Imperfect is the Joy not shared by all."
Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, founder of Aravind Eye Care System
The joy of sight is something most of us take for granted. But imagine never seeing the smile on your grandchild’s face because of cataracts. Imagine not having sight as a child due to cancer. Imagine not being able to work because diabetes has left you blind. All of these things happen in India.
Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy (Dr. V) founded the Aravind Eye Care System with the vision of eliminating needless blindness and giving everyone the joy of sight. Last year, Aravind doctors saw more than 3 million patients and performed 350,000 sight-saving surgeries, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.
But we couldn’t have done it without you! Global Giving donors support two very important aspects of Aravind’s work: 1)Spectacles for school children and 2) the Ring of Hope, which provides treatment for children with eye cancer.
Through our hospital in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, Aravind health workers screened 36,633 school children and provided 947 pairs of eye glasses in 2012. The program has been so successful that we will be expanding it to our other hospitals, beginning with Aravind Pondicherry in 2013.
Retinoblastoma is a virulent, often fatal form of eye cancer that affects primarily children. The treatment is complicated and lengthy, requiring chemotheraphy, radiation and surgery, and is too expensive for most Indian families. Since the Ring of Hope was established in 2004. Aravind has treated a total of 912 patients free of charge. Last year alone, Aravind treated 105 children and 33 adults, and fitted 47 patients with custom-fitted prosthetic eyes.
Behind the numbers are grandmothers, school children, farmworkers, and many more who have received the gift of sight, thanks to your generosity. We at Aravind wish you a very happy new year, and hope that you will continue to support us in 2013.
Your donation helped a child go to the head of the class!
Imagine if you could not see the blackboard when your teacher is writing a mathematical formula. Or, what if the words in your history book appeared blurred and meaningless? Education is the ticket out of the circle of poverty, and poor vision severely impairs a child’s ability to learn.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1.4 million children are blind worldwide and millions more are visually impaired. In India alone, there are about 30 million children who need some type of eye care intervention. Ironically 80% of vision impairment is needless and can be corrected through simple cataract surgery or by an even simpler solution -- a pair of spectacles.
To address these problems, Aravind set the ambitious goal of screening one million preschool and school children by August 2013. Now, in its second year, we have screened 664,417 children and trained 4,417 preschool teachers and 3,447 school teachers to recognize eyesight problems.
Aravind provides the training and screening free of charge, but your donations have provided spectacles for children identified with vision problems. A gift of $25 buys five pairs of eyeglasses for school children. To date, more than 16,000 pairs of eyeglasses have been given to the children in India. Aravind and our young friends say, “THANK YOU!”
You can help even more children in India go to the head of the glass by donating to Aravind on Global Giving’s Bonus Day, Wednesday, October 17.
Every week at Aravind we see patients who are in need of treatment that can help prevent loss of sight and Aravind provides free treatment for majority of its cataract patients from its surplus, however the funds received from generous donors like you help us extend this free treatment in other areas of need. This year so far under the Ring of Hope project, Aravind has provided 279 free consultations and treatment for Retinablastoma, and provided free surgery for 36 children. Also, they have provided custom fit- prosthetic eyes to 60 patients free of charge.
Aravind appreciates the support of Global Giving and its donors to help continue their mission of “eliminating needless blindness” globally. Here is a story of a family whose four children were affected with Retinoblastoma and how Aravind’s intervention saved them.
Ayyasamy and Rani lived in a small village in Tanjore district. They were blessed with four children. Long back, their first two children developed eye cancer. The children were given treatment in some hospital, but of no use. Both of them passed away as the cancer spread to other parts of the body.
Days passed by, Ayyasamy and Rani learnt that their third child, Harini too had been affected with this debilitating disease in both the eyes. They took her to Aravind Eye Hospital. Cancer in the left eye was really in an advanced stage and the doctors suggested enucleation to save the life of the girl. Compared to the condition in the left eye, the cancer in the right eye was less severe and so, chemotherapy was advised so as to make sure that the disease did not spread to other parts of the body. Further examinations after chemotherapy showed positive results and the child’s vision was saved. The parents heaved a sigh of relief.
But it did not last long. Their fourth child was diagnosed with cancer in the right eye. Thermotherapy with laser was suggested by the doctors as the cancer was in the initial stage. The child’s vision was saved. Even though the parents lost two children to retinoblastoma, they were happy afterwards that they could save the life and vision of the remaining two. They were extremely grateful to the Aravind Eye Hospital and also to the Ring of Hope project for having provided their children gift of sight and life.
Aravind's Ring of Hope project saves the sight and lives of children and adults suffering from eye cancer. It was started in 2004, by Dr. Usha, the head of the Aravind's Orbit and Oculoplasty Clinic in Madurai, India, to help pay for the extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments necessary to treat eye cancer. Aravind doctors give their time at no cost to the patient.
Thanks to our generous donors at Global Giving during the last twelve months 20 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. Since its founding, the Ring of Hope has provided treatment for 444 patients, including 220 children with retinoblastoma and 224 patients with other eye cancers.
We wanted to share the story of one of those grateful patients with you. Recently, a family from Thanjavur, a village in southern India, brought their two--year old son, Mohammed, to Aravind Hospital in Madurai because he had a white spot in his left eye. Examinations at the Orbit and Oculoplasty clinic confirmed it to be eye cancer. The doctor explained to the family members about the seriousness of the boy’s eye condition, the nature of the disease and the need for immediate treatment.
Mohammad's parents readily accepted the doctor’s advice, and the hospital started three cycles of chemotherapy with a gap of 23 days in between each. After the third cycle, scan results showed a reduction in the size of the tumour. Three more cycles were suggested by the doctor for a complete cure and by the end of the treatment the tumour had drastically reduced in size.
When Mohammed returned for his follow-up visit, several weeks later, the doctor found that the cancer had been completely cured, and his vision was restored. Mohammed’s parents were at a loss of words to convey theirheartfelt gratitude. And, so are we!
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