Gopika, 5 years after her eye cancer diagnosis.
Five years ago, I was in our hospital in Madurai, India, when parents brought in their two-month old baby, Gopika. Her local pediatrician had identified retinoblastoma (eye cancer) in both her eyes and recommended that they take her to Aravind for examination. Aravind doctors confirmed the diagnosis and recommended surgery immediately. Gopika's family had less than 50,000 rupees in savings -- about $700 -- so there was no way that they could afford the expensive and extended treatment that she needed.
I will never forget running into Dr. Usha in the hallway that evening. Dr. Usha is the head of our orbital cancer unit, and she works with children like Gopika every day. Sometimes she has to convince parents to go ahead with treatment, because they are terrified by the expense. Depending on the severity of the disease, the costs can range from $1000 to $2000 for each child.
Dr. Usha grabbed both my hands and said, "Thanks to the Aravind Eye Foundation, we are going to start treatment immediately!" And, off she went.
I knew that wasn't quite true. It is because of people like you that we are able to save dozens of children each year who would otherwise die from eye cancer.
Fast-forward to 2018: Sadly, Gopika had to have both eyes enucleated, but with surgery and radiation, she survived her cancer to bring much joy and love to her parents. She will continue to be monitored by Aravind doctors, and as she grows, she will receive new custom-made prostheses.
So, it is with much gratitude that I send this project report. Thank you for helping to save the lives and sight of more than 500 children in India and fund thousands of patient visits for surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. As always, I would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have -- email me at email@example.com. Tell your friends what you are doing to help India's children through twitter @aravindeye and /www.facebook.com/AravindEyeFoundation/
Donna Campbell, Executive Director
P.S. And, if you love what we do, please support us on #GivingTuesday.