CHENNAI: On a warm Sunday morning, the slogan ‘Daanathil siranthathu kanndaanam, Kankale erikartheerkal puthaikartherkal’ (The greatest donation is eye donation, don’t bury the eyes or cover them), echoing in unison, welcomed everyone to the Besant Nagar Beach. The fight for a noble cause made almost 800 people, who gathered for the Eye Donation Awareness Rally, the ambassadors of gifting vision.
The collaboration between Rotary Rajan Eye Bank and Rotary Club of Madras T Nagar — to spread awareness during the National Eye Donation Fortnight — has been happening annually for the past 22 years. Ma Subramanian, Minister for Medical and Family Welfare flagged off the rally and said, “This collaboration is providing awareness about the greatest contribution that we can give.
Since the days I was the Mayor of Chennai, I had been watching the selfless efforts of these members, who share their knowledge on eye donation. They have also reached rural areas and educated the people about eye care and donation. When Hithendra, a teenager from Tamil Nadu lost his life in an accident, his parents chose to donate his organs to give life to the needy. This act inspired a lot of people in Tamil Nadu and India. Through programmes like this we will make the message clear.”
The minister also signed the pledge to donate his eyes, inspiring the audience.
Even during the pandemic, Rajan Eye Care Hospital managed to conduct awareness camps online. Dr Nandakumar N, district governor, R.I Dist 3232, shared, “ As a doctor, I am very proud that we are doing these programmes every year and have brought Tamil Nadu to the forefront of organ donation. We still have to reach many more people and we have a long road ahead of us. Gifting eyes is gifting life and happiness.”
Dr Mohan Rajan, chairman and medical director, Rajan Eye Care Hospital, emphasised on the rising corneal blindness percentage in the country. He shared, “Almost 60 per cent of people are affected by corneal blindness. Therefore, it is important to donate eyes as it can be of help to at least two people. You can donate your eyes to any eye bank near you.”
The event was also an opportunity for college students from the city to contribute to the cause. As Pooja S Madhavan, faculty co-ordinator, Saveeta College of Allied Health Science summed up, “Let us not stop here. let us all take this initiative to our homes and to more people.”