Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India

by Aravind Eye Foundation
Play Video
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
Prakasan, follow-up patient, now cancer-free
Prakasan, follow-up patient, now cancer-free

Being treated for eye cancer requires many visits over a period of several years.  Most children require six to eight chemo cycles  Our doctors get to know their patients very well. Everyone has a story.  I'll give you an example of a family you have helped - one of many. 

Prakasan was first brought to Aravind when he was just one and a half years old. He was diagnosed with unilateral retinoblastoma. The family lives in Nilakkotai, about 50kms from our main hospital in Madurai. They moved to Tamil Nadu, India, during the Sri Lankan civil war. Their refugee background put Prakasan’s family in unpredictable living conditions. The father earns a living through construction and painting, just sufficient to support the family's daily needs. Prakasan’s mother fainted on hearing that her son had eye cancer.

Alone, the family could have never afforded the cost of inital treatment and follow-up.  Prakasan probably would have died. But with your support, he had the tumor removed and is receiving chemotherapy.  His prognosis is great! 

Hearing your child has retinoblastoma is terrifying.  Not knowing how you can pay for cancer treatment makes it hopeless. Which is why your gift is doubly important.  Your donation gives sight AND hope.  Since Aravind first joined GlobalGiving, you have helped provide nearly 5000 visits to 505 patients and given hope to their families.

Thank you for continuing to support us.  As always, I would love to hear from you.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please email me directly at donnacampbell@aravind.org.  And, please tell you friends and family about our work and how you are helping.  

With gratitude, 

Donna Campbell, Executive Director

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Brother and sister:  Diwakar and Sri Rithika
Brother and sister: Diwakar and Sri Rithika

If you are long-time GlobalGiving member, you may remember Diwaka and his little sister Rithika. I wrote a report about them in January 2013.  Both of them had retinoblastoma -- eye cancer.  Diwakar had to have surgery when he was two years old, because his cancer was too advanced to save his eye.  But because their parents brought Rithika to the hospital just after she was born, Aravind was able to save her vision, her eyes, and her life.  

Today, both children are thriving, and their success story was reported in The Hindu newspaper, as part of Retinoblastoma Awareness month.  

There is also a story about 16-years-old Jayanthi, who will sit her high school exams next year.  She was one of the very first patients to receive treatment completely free of charge through Aravind's Ring of Hope program.  Her grandmother made sure she never missed one of her check-ups at Aravind Eye Hospital.  

Treating retinoblastoma successfully, like any cancer, takes several years of follow-up treatment and screening.  Your generosity has supported more than 6500 hospital visits for kids like Diwakar, Rithika, and Jayanthi, and ensured that they grow up cancer-free and full of hope.  

I hope you will enjoy the full article in The Hindu, linked below. Send it to your friends and family and tell them how you are helping to end eye cancer for kids in India.  Retinoblastoma is 90% curable in the US; 90% fatal in India -- together, we will change those odds. 

As always, I would love to hear from you -- what are we doing well, what can we do better, and any and all questions you have.  Email me at donnacampbell@aravind.org; follow us on facebook at AravindEyeFoundation; tweet us at @AravindEye.  And, just help us spread the word and expand the Ring of Hope for all kids with eye cancer.  

In gratitude, Donna Campbell

Executive Director

"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

Sri Rithika, now cancer-free.
Sri Rithika, now cancer-free.

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Four-year old Asha, eye cancer survivor.
Four-year old Asha, eye cancer survivor.

What is the most important gift that you give?  The answer may surprise you.  It's not free spectacles for school children.  It's not paying for xrays or CT scans or donating money for surgeries.  It's hope.  

Aravind doctors and nurses see more than their share of young patients with advanced retinoblastoma (eye cancer).  Treatment is very expensive -- nearly $1000 for surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and prostheses.  Most parents are terrified when they hear the diagnosis.  They would do anything for their child, but they have no hope of paying that much money.  

That was the case with four-year-old Asha, whose family lives in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Her father works in a private firm, and her mother is a nurse. Asha has a younger sister and a brother. No one in her family noticed the white disc in her eye, an early sign of retinoblastoma.   At Aravind, Asha was diagnosed with tumors in both eyes and a cataract.  Her father's family believed that she inherited the disease from her mother’s side and refused to help pay for treatment.  Asha's parents didn't have the money.  Even travelling back and forth to the hospital in Tamil Nadu was a financial hardship.  

Aravind created our Ring of Hope program to help families like Asha's.  Thanks to your generous support, Asha received her treatment free of charge. One eye had to be enucleated and the cataract was removed from the other eye.  She is receiving chemotherapy to regress the other tumor and will visit Aravind for follow-up until we are sure she is cancer-free.  

During the past year, Aravind treated 40 new patients like Asha and 640 review patients with your help.  And, stay tuned!  We plan to expand the Ring of Hope to our new hospital in Chennai, the largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, as well as continuing service at our hospitals in Madurai and Coimbatore.  

Thank you for your continuing generosity and belief in our work.  Most of all, thank you for giving the gift of hope to our patients and their families.  

In gratitude,

Donna Campbell, Executive Director

"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness."  Desmond Tutu

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Ganesh, a patient at Aravind Eye Hospital-Madurai
Ganesh, a patient at Aravind Eye Hospital-Madurai

This is probably my favorite time of the year -- and I'm not talking about the holidays.  In December, my colleagues in India send me a report summarizing all the amazing work they've done during the year -- thanks to your generosity. 

It's always impressive.  Just one example -- your donations last year helped treat nearly 700 children with eye cancer -- surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, prosthetics, family counselling, travel costs, and genetic testing to determine whether future siblings or offspring need to be worried about developing the disease.  Since we started our program, you have helped fund 6525 patient visits.  Amazing! 

But as you know, numbers don't tell the whole story.  They don't describe the courage of a child undergoing chemotherapy.  They don't express a mother's joy at hearing that her daughter's cancer is gone.  Behind each number is a person -- someone like three-year-old Ganesh, who has a mischievous smile and a personality to go with it.  His family comes from a small town in the Chettinad area of Tamil Nadu, where his father is the priest of a local temple.  

Ganesh came to our hospital at the urging of a family friend who knew one of the Aravind doctors.  He received treatment completely free of cost (again thanks to you!).  Ganesh was fitted with a custom-made prosthetic eye, which will be replaced as he grows, and our doctors will monitor his progress (also free of cost) to be sure the cancer does not return. 

Thank you for believing in our mission and trusting us to use your donation wisely.  We would love to hear from you -- contact me at donnacampbell@aravind.org if you have any questions about our work, would like to know more, or are planning a trip to Tamil Nadu -- yes, I really mean it!  Come visit!  Or if you can't visit us in person, join us on facebook (AravindEyeFoundation) or twitter (@aravindeye).  

Wishing you a joyful holiday season! 

Donna Campbell, Executive Director

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Chella and her mother after treatment at Aravind.
Chella and her mother after treatment at Aravind.

Visiting the Orbit Clinic at Aravind Eye Hospital is a confusing, emotional experience.  I have visited several times, and I can think of no other way to describe it.  On one hand, I am so sad to see our youngest patients, hooked up to IV's receiving chemotherapy, when they should be outside playing.  At the same time, it is a hopeful place, because these kids are being treated by Dr. Usha and her caring, experienced team.  They are arguably receiving the best treatment in India, probably the world!

Each year, Aravind Eye Hospital treats roughly 150 new patients for retinoblastoma (eye cancer), in addition to 400 to 500 follow-up visits.  The overwhelming majority are children under the age of five years.  The sooner we see them, the better chance we have of saving their sight and their lives.  Now that our Genetic Testing Lab is in up and running, we can predict whether a baby is likely to be born with retinoblastoma and start treatment immediately.  

Sometimes the biggest obstacle to early treatment is fear -- no parent wants to hear that their child has cancer and may lose her eye.  Chella from Andhra Pradesh was just two years old when she first came to Aravind with tumors in both eyes.   When the doctor suggested enucleation of one eye, the parents refused and took Chella home.  Many hospitals would have given up.  But Aravind’s team continued to follow up with the family, and as a result of repeated calls, Chella was brought back to the hospital for surgery and chemotherapy.  Now three years old, the tumor in her other eye has regressed, and she has a custom-fitted prosthetic eye, which will be replaced as she grows.   

None of this would have been possible without the generosity of our Global Giving donors.  Chella's father works as a daily wage labourer and earns about $2 a day.  The treatment expenses were far beyond their means.  Your donations will continue to support her follow-up visits for five years -- after that, she will be declared cancer-free! 

Thank you for helping to save Chella's sight and life.  

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Aravind Eye Foundation

Location: New York - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AravindEyeFdtn
Project Leader:
Chitra Prasad
Project contact
Madurai, Tamil Nadu India
$82,980 raised of $250,000 goal
 
1,137 donations
$167,020 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Aravind Eye Foundation has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.