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 email@example.com if you would like to know more about our work and how you can help. We would love to hear from you.
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