Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India

by Aravind Eye Foundation
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Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India
Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India

Dear Friend,

When I started to write to you and update you on Aravind’s work with eye cancer patients, I realized I had no idea how to begin. Normally, I follow the guidelines, send a story about one of our Ring of Hope eye cancer patients, how many people we’ve helped, and how we are fulfilling our mission. I threw out several drafts like that because it’s not the time for business as usual. Although, I don’t think it is never business as usual at Aravind. But warning: this report is written from the heart.

As you know, the situation in India with the pandemic is dire – more than 300,000 cases a day of Covid-19 a day. Many people have lost someone, and we pray for them and for solace for their families.

When I first started working with Aravind, now nearly 10 years ago, I quickly understood that this is an organization that cares deeply about both the health and dignity of its patients. Not only the doctors and nurses, but everyone who comes into contact with a patient. Housekeeping, administration, security – they are a critical part of Aravind’s work, and their kindness and attention to detail are part of the healing process.

True story about a young aide, who was reprimanded for not wearing shoes: “Where are your shoes?”, her supervisor asked. The aide replied, “I gave them to a patient.”

This young woman had understood our founder's vision and what it means to give the gift of service and go the extra mile for her patient.  For me, it sums up Aravind -- nothing will keep us from caring for our patients.  

Everyone at Aravind is doing their very best to prevent unnecessary blindness and to take on the additional responsibility of unnecessary exposure to Covid. Eye cancer doesn’t go into lockdown, so we continue to see these patients to make sure they get essential care. Just last month, through our Ring of Hope program, Aravind provided 66 free patient visits, free accommodation for eight patients, and custom prostheses for two patients, surgery for four patients, and genetic testing for five patients.

Thank you for your help during this unusually difficult time. I hope you and your family and friends are well and safe. Please encourage everyone you know to get their vaccination. And, feel free to contact me at donnacampbell@aravind.org if you would like to know more about our work and how you can help. We would love to hear from you.

In gratitude,

Donna Campbell, Executive Director, Aravind Eye Foundation

“Intelligence and Capability are not enough. There must be the joy of doing something beautiful.”

From the journals of Dr. G. Venkataswamy, founder of Aravind Eye Care System

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Nancy and her parents at Aravind Eye Hospital.
Nancy and her parents at Aravind Eye Hospital.

I hope this finds you well and looking forward to 2021 with hope in your heart.  2020 was an unusual year for Aravind, but as I look back, I can’t help but be amazed at all that was accomplished, under such difficult circumstances with YOUR help!

Our Ring of Hope program is a prime example. Although we had to postpone many procedures during the pandemic, the number of eye cancer patients we treated actually increased during 2020. This year we treated 82 new patients and provided 1679 follow-up visits. In several instances, patients and their families stayed at Aravind – free of cost – since they couldn’t risk travelling back and forth.

One of those patients was one-year-old Nancy, who travelled to Madurai from Andhra Pradesh (a 14-hour trip), for surgery in March. Right after that, India went into lockdown, stranding Nancy and her family in an unfamiliar city for almost two months. In addition to covering the full cost of her treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy, and genetic testing, Aravind provided the family with food and housing until they safely returned home.

Nancy's story is one of many during the pandemic. It is never business as usual at Aravind, but that has been particularly true in 2020. The one thing that has never changed is our commitment to providing high-quality, compassionate care to every patient, regardless of ability to pay.

From all of us at Aravind, thank you wholeheartedly for supporting our work. You have given the gift of sight to so many patients like Nancy and put hope in the hearts of their families. We wish you a happy new year and pray for the continued health and safety of you and your loved ones.  

 In gratitude, Donna

“Intelligence and Capability are not enough. There must be the joy of doing something beautiful.”                         From the journals of Dr. G. Venkataswamy, founder of Aravind Eye Care System

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Chinnu and her baby girl
Chinnu and her baby girl

As we head into September, I hope that you and your family are well. I’m sure this was not the summer that you had planned – I know it was vastly different from what my family was looking forward to, and sometimes it is hard to let go of those plans.

One thing that has kept up my spirits this summer is the privilege of working with Aravind. As you know, India has been hard hit by Covid-19. Our staff has been working overtime to provide the high-quality, compassionate eye care that our patients expect, despite extremely challenging circumstances. Their courage and dedication inspire me every day!

And, you inspire me! In these uncertain times, you have continued to provide much-needed support to Aravind, especially to our eye cancer patients. This year Aravind expanded our Ring of Hope program to cover testing and treatment for all types of ocular cancers, so your donations are more important than ever.

I’d like to share some inspiring news about one of our patients. Chinnu lost her eye to retinoblastoma as a child, yet went on to complete dentistry school and to marry. Many eye cancers have a genetic element, and early detection can mean the difference between life and death. Also, knowing that you don’t have the inherited type of cancer can help with family planning and bring peace of mind.

So, before having children, Chinnu, wanted to be tested to understand the risks to future children. She fortunately tested negative and now she has a lovely baby girl!

Thank you for your kindness and your generosity. I hope that you and your family stay safe and that we all find inspiring moments and people to get us through these days. 

With gratitude, Donna

“Intelligence and capability are not enough. There must be the joy of doing something beautiful.”

Dr. G. Venkataswamy, founder of Aravind Eye Care System

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Dear Friend, 

I sincerely hope that you and your family are well in this unprecedented time of global anxiety, sadness, and no doubt anger at the injustices faced by so many. 

Still, dark times can offer opportunities to do good things -- things that perhaps we thought were impossible before.  When Covid-19 emerged in India and forced us to close our hospitals except for emergency operations, all our employees rose to the occasion. Every one of us should be proud of the doctors, nurses, administration, maintenance, drivers, security, catering and housekeeping, who performed their duties with dedication and sincerity, true to the longstanding values and tradition of Aravind. The catering staff and our sanitary staff need a special mention of appreciation, since their work has increased manifold in recent times.

We continue to see our eye cancer patients, of course, and have arranged for them and their families to stay at Aravind and avoid travelling back and forth on public transportation and risk exposure to the virus, especially since they are in an extremely high risk category.  Your generosity makes this all possible!  

I want to leave you with the words of our founder, Dr. Venkataswamy, and I hope that they give you some comfort.  “Attachment to your village, your hospital, your state or country – that must go.  You must live in your soul and face the universal consciousness.  To see all as one.”

At this crucial time, let us put aside our differences and pray to help every person in the world.  Let us see all as one. 

Stay safe and be well.  And, know that we are extremely grateful for your support, more now than ever.  Please email me or call me (917 412 4742) if you have ideas on how we can do a better job, especially at this time, or if you would like to learn more about our work.  

With gratitude, Donna

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Ratheesh and his nurse at Aravind Eye Hospital
Ratheesh and his nurse at Aravind Eye Hospital

Ratheesh was four years old when he was diagnosed with eye cancer. His father is a daily wage laborer who earns very little and definitely not enough to pay for his son’s surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. To make matters worse, while Ratheesh was undergoing treatment, the cyclone Gaja ravaged the northern districts of Tamil Nadu. His village was among the worst hit, and the family lost their house, along with most of their belongings. Aravind provided Ratheesh’s treatment free of cost and also helped the family get back on their feet with relief support.

None of this would be possible without the help of friends like you – you are the Ring of Hope that surrounds our patients and their families. This past year Aravind treated 35 new patients with retinoblastoma and provided 707 follow-up visits for existing patients. Since we started the Ring of Hope program, you have helped to save the sight and lives of 558 patients and to provide 8,687 follow-up visits. Thank you!

I will be travelling to India in March and meeting some of the many patients whom you have helped. I look forward to sharing their stories with you in future reports. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please email me at donnacampbell@aravind.org. I would love to hear from you!

In gratitude,

Donna Campbell, Executive Director

P.S.  Please tell your friends and family about the great work YOU are doing.  Tweet about us @AravindEye or follow us on Facebook @AravindEyeFoundation. 

"Intelligence and Capability are not enough.  There must be the joy of doing something beautiful."

From the journals of Dr. G. Venkataswamy, founder of Aravind Eye Care System

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Aravind Eye Foundation

Location: New York - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AravindEyeFdtn
Project Leader:
Chitra Prasad
Project contact
Madurai, Tamil Nadu India
$83,736 raised of $250,000 goal
 
1,148 donations
$166,264 to go
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