Santhosh and his mother at Aravind Eye Hospital.
Six-year-old Santhosh is the only child of a poor fishing family from Rameswaram, a remote village located at the very tip of India. He was diagnosed with retinoblastoma -- eye cancer -- during his first visit to Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai a year ago. At first, his parents tried alternative forms of healing to cure his cancer, but his tumor grew worse. Finally, they returned to Aravind to seek medical help.
A full-course of treatment for eye cancer -- surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, custom-made prosthetic eyes, and counselling -- costs $1000. Santhosh's family could never afford the treatment on a fisherman's wages. But thanks to people like you, his treatment was completely free. Today, his tumor has regressed, and Santhosh and his family face a brighter future. His cancer is probably cured, but Aravind doctors will monitor his health for many years to come to make sure that he remains cancer-free.
Retinoblastoma is a blinding, disfiguring, often fatal cancer that strikes children under age five. In the United States, retinoblastoma is 90% curable -- in India, 90% of children die, because diagnosis and treatment come too late.
Dr. Usha runs Aravind's pediatric cancer division. “Some of these children are so resilient,” says Dr. Usha. “I’ve cried at work on so many different occasions, and I’ve lost patients at every stage. But I know we have to keep doing what we can. Someone has to fight for these patients. We have seen how we can make a difference, but there is still a lot to do.”
There is still a lot to do -- but thank you for all you have done. Your gift saves sight and life.
I wish you a joyous and beautiful 2015.
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. Govindappa Venkataswamy, founder of Aravind Eye Care Systems.