Whitathon to spread eye cancer awareness

Whitathon to spread eye cancer awarenessWhitathon to spread eye cancer awareness

To raise awareness on early detection of eye cancer (Retinoblastoma) in children, LV Prasad Eye institute (LVPEI) is organizing the second edition of ‘WHITATHON’ Run on May19 to commemorate the World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week that will be observed from May 13 to 19.

Jubilee Hills: To raise awareness on early detection of eye cancer (Retinoblastoma) in children, LV Prasad Eye institute (LVPEI) is organizing the second edition of 'WHITATHON' Run on May19 to commemorate the World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week that will be observed from May 13 to 19.

VVS Laxman, Tom Moody, Yusuf Pathan and Siddharth Kaul from SunRisers Hyderabad, the Indian Premier League (IPL) team, Dr G N Rao, Chair, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Dr Swathi Kaliki, Head-Operation Eyesight, Universal Institute for Eye Cancer, LVPEI, unveiled the Whitathon T-shirt on Tuesday.

Dr Vijay Anand Reddy, Senior Radiation Oncologist, Yashwant Sinha, Senior Manager-International Programs, Operation Eyesight Universal, board members of LVPEI, Ramesh Prasad and Pratibha Rao, Swathi Nannapaneni and Rajeev Nannapaneni, Vice-Chairman and CEO of NATCO, unveiled the Whitathon medals.

Tom Moody said, "Seeing children suffering is painful and if we can in any way raise awareness about this, it's important we do so. Last year over a thousand had benefitted from funds raised by Whitathon and would want you to continue raising the money and make that figure ten thousand one day, even if it means in a couple of years. It can help to see lot more of smiling faces of young children. It is humbling to be associated with such a cause, it is special and close to our heart."

VVS Laxman said, "Everyone has a dream and on accomplishing it, you feel very satisfied. Dr GN Rao might also be feeling satisfied but he has also got a vision for next 25 years and that's a hallmark of great people.

The work this institution has done is mind boggling with 26mn people being treated here. Thank you very much for making us a part of this wonderful initiative, nice to know that last years Whitathon was a great success with close to 2500 participants and I will not be surprised if that number is doubled or tripled this year. I look forward to see this as an event everyone looks forward to and it should not be limited to Hyderabad alone and going further it should be held in different parts of the state and country."

Dr GN Rao said LV Prasad Eye Institute would be completing 32 years of world-class eye care service in June this year. A not-for-profit institution with the simple mission that anybody coming to any of our centres at the primary care centres in rural or remote tribal areas or the advanced tertiary care centre here will be taken care of, irrespective of the complexity of the problem whether they pay or not, which essentially means nobody is denied eyecare, irrespective of their financial status.

In 31 years we have treated over 26.04 million patients. We have the biggest eye bank in Asia today. We want to raise awareness about the eye cancers in children as India has the largest incidence of the disease and the Whitathon helps in this mission."

Dr Swathi Kaliki said several children benefited from funds raised last year's Whitathon. "We had two objectives in organising this run. There is a pressing need to raise awareness about eye cancers in children, because even educated are not aware of this and second objective is to raise funds to treat eye cancer patients, as percentage of patients who cannot afford treatment for cancer is much higher... Retinoblastoma is a highly curable cancer, in more than 98% of the cases life can be salvaged. But early detection is key to it.

Two main symptoms seen with this are the white reflex and the squint, never ignore these two things seen in a child and immediately get a good eye examination of the child by an ophthalmologist."

Last year, LVPEI treated 1,147 cases of retinoblastoma free of cost, thanks to the funds raised through their first edition of Whitathon. This year over 5000 participants are expected. "Let no child die of eye cancer because of lack of awareness and treatment," said VVS Laxman – the official brand ambassador of Whitathon 2019.

The Run will be flagged off from People's Plaza at 6 am. The funds raised from the Whitathon Run will be utilized for treating poor children suffering from Retinoblastoma free of cost, and to provide resources for future research to explore new treatment options for this alarming disease.

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