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
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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Al Ameen, 9 months old
Al Ameen, 9 months old

There is probably nothing more endearing than the toothless smile of a happy baby, and Al Ameen is no exception!  This beautiful baby boy was referred to the Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, with cancer in both eyes.  Al Ameen has the genetic form of retinoblastoma, and both of his parents are also blind. 

Al Ameen lives with his mother, Haseena, and the two of them are cared for by maternal grandparents.  Because of some issues with the family, his father does not live with them, nor does he support them financially.  The cost of Al Ameen's on-going cancer treatment is also paid by his grandparents.  

Many families start treatment and then become overwhelmed by the expense and the prolonged length of treatment.  They simply stop coming, as a result.  Retinblastoma is very curable, but patients must complete their chemo and radiation sessions and come in for follow-up visits.  Al Ameen's family lives in the neighboring state of Kerala, so they had the additional cost of travelling to visit Aravind in Tamil Nadu. 

Your donations paid for Al Ameen's family to travel to Madurai and to complete his treatment and follow-up.  Unlike his parents, Al Ameen has a very good chance of retaining his vision.  

There are so many children like Al Ameen, whom you help through Global Giving.  And, that's why we are all smiling at the Aravind Eye Foundation today.  Thank you for helping to save the lives and sight of now more than 650 children in India and to fund thousands of patient follow-up visits to keep our patients cancer-free.  

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.  And, I would love to hear from you, so email me:  donnacampbell@aravind.org -- I will respond!  

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Muthuammal, mother of five and grandmother
Muthuammal, mother of five and grandmother

Blindness ranks as one of our greatest fears – some studies show that it surpasses fear of losing a limb, memory, or hearing.  So much of how we learn, work, and generally interact with our surroundings comes through sight.  It’s no wonder that we are afraid. 

Many of our patients at Aravind face another fear – not being able to pay for treatment when they are diagnosed with eye cancer.  In India, treatment can cost between $1000 and $2000 for diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and rehabilitation, an astronomical amount when the average wage is $2 a day.  Your donations give them hope for recovery and resuming their normal lives. 

Eye cancer affects all ages – so going forward you will see some new faces in my reports to you.  I often write to you about our young patients who are being treated for retinoblastoma, which primarily affects children up to age 5 years. This year we expanded our Ring of Hope program to provide treatment and rehabilitative services for all patients who can’t afford to pay, no matter their age. When a parent or grandparent gets sick, it has a huge impact on the whole family and community.  

An example is Muthammal, who is 69 years old and has five children. Even at this age, she continues to work so that she too can play her part in supporting the family.  Muthammal first visited Aravind in March 2019, seeking a cure for her eye problem. She was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.  She was broken-hearted on hearing that she had cancer.  Muthammal was equally worried about the huge cost involved in treatment. Thanks to Aravind’s Ring of Hope, she has now completed six cycles of chemotherapy and is on regular follow-up. Totally free, because of you. 

Thank you for supporting all our patients and being part of our family!   I would love to hear from you – especially if you have any family members who are struggling vision issues, no matter what their ages. You can email at donnacampbell@aravind.org or contact me through twitter @AravindEye. Or visit our Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/AravindEyeFoundation/

With gratitude, Donna

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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
$80,789 raised of $250,000 goal
 
1,108 donations
$169,211 to go
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