Kids from the Retinoblastoma Wing
The following is a postcard from Neeharika Tummala, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in India, about her recent visit to Aravind Eye Foundation.
Aravind is a center that I have always wanted to visit given its famous work in cataract surgeries. They are a known worldwide for their processes and training that allow them to do a cataract surgery in minutes, allowing them to serve hundreds of patients everyday for free. But this particular project funds some of the most expensive surgeries in eye care – surgeries for retinoblastoma, which typically affects children under the age of 5. I was most surprised by the fact that the 4 families I met were from all over India, coming from as far as Jharkhand, which is 3 states north! When I asked them as to why Aravind, they said that they were recommended by their local doctors and had heard about the affordability and the quality of care. I even met a family from Orissa, a state two states north, who travel back and forth for chemo treatments.
I was really touched by the stories of the families whose children had either already had surgery or were undergoing chemotherapy. One of the kids there, who was undergoing chemo, looked completely normal, without any bulge seen by the eye, which is typically the tumor. The father was completely conflicted as he wanted to prolong chemo in the hope of saving his sons eye, versus surgery which the doctors have recommended. He told me ‘it’s so hard to opt for surgery that will make my son potentially loose sight when he still has 20/20 vision and it doesn’t look like there is anything wrong with him’. It made me realize how difficult the entire ordeal is for families, which makes it all the more important to have a great support team around you. All the families had only good things to say about the Aravind doctors and nurses and I couldn't agree more.
The kid with 20-20 vision and retinoblastoma