Thursday, 12th May, 2016: A visit to a museum is part of many children’s routine in Bangalore. For 20 children who visited today, it was special.
Vijay, a 5 year old, is a sharp, witty kid and is quick to learn & respond. He has been treated for multiple eye conditions in a short span of time. He is one among the many kids who contracted a serious eye condition at an early age. I never thought he would see his 5th birthday, shared Jaya, Vijay’s mother. I’m happy to see him and other children who have fought cancer and today able to do what his friends do.
Numerous infants and toddlers like him are victims of retinoblastoma, a cancer that affects the eye. If not attended to the condition could be fatal.
In order to create awareness of this serious condition, Retinoblastoma Week is recognized at Sankara Eye Hospital every year. This year the hospital had invited children who defeated retinal cancer to commemorate the event. The children were part of over 300 children that have been treated under Sankara’s community program, completely free of cost.
The children, who were accompanied by their parents, interacted with the doctors and a fun-filled day. They also got to tour the HAL museum, after the interaction and luncheon. The kids and the parents interacted with each other at the event and urged that it is important for every parent to be aware of the condition and the need to seek timely treatment.
While interacting with the parents Dr. Rajesh R, Senior Consultant, Ocular Oncology Department, Sankara Eye Hospital, said, “There is a stigma attached to cancer which prevents parents from openly seeking help for their children. It is important to educate them that if diagnosed early, the vision of the child can be saved. At Sankara, we have tried to ensure that every child has a chance at life. Sankara Eye Hospital is the 3rd largest medical institution providing treatment for retinoblastoma. We treat around 70 kids every year from various socio-economic backgrounds.”
The hospital is keen on extending its services to children who cannot afford to be treated due to their economic status. The Sankara Ocular Oncology Centre is the first of its kind in Karnataka state with state-of-art facilities and has treated over 300 children off eye cancers since its inception.
Retinoblastoma is a cancer in the eye that affects 1 in 20000 live births and it is the third most common cancerous tumor. It is known to affect infants and children between 0-5 years of age.
The Retinoblastoma Week at Sankara was supported by, “Surya” – A volunteer initiative that raises support for the eye care activities of Sankara. Mrs. Poornima Kaushik, Founder, Surya For Life said,“It is a pleasure to raise support for Sankara, as you can see the money being used to serve the community. I am thrilled of the impact my small contribution has made to the lives of these children.”
About Sankara Eye Foundation
Sankara Eye Foundation is a Non Profit NGO and a part of the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Medical Trust founded in 1977 at Coimbatore with a vision to provide quality eye care. With the goal of replicating one Sankara Eye Hospital in every state in India, the group is working towards freedom from preventable and curable blindness – “Vision 20/20 by the year 2020” – wherein no one would be needlessly blind.
The Sankara ocular centre is a state-of-the-art, comprehensive cancer treatment centre. The department provides holistic diagnostic, medical and surgical services. The centre is led by Dr. Mahesh Shanmugam, a specialist in ocular oncology and is assisted by a specialist in orbital diseases and surgery. They are supported by a team who works diligently to ensure personalized care for patients and their families during the examination and subsequent treatment plans.