Hyderabad, May , 2019: To raise awareness on early detection of eye cancer (Retinoblastoma) in children, L V Prasad Eye institute (LVPEI) organized the second edition of ‘WHITATHON’ Run on May 19 to commemorate the World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week that is being observed from May 13-19, 2019. Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Sri ESL Narasimhan, and Commissioner of Police Sri Anjani Kumar flagged off the unique run for a cause at the People’s Plaza, Necklace Road at 6 AM.
Last year, LVPEI treated 1147 cases of retinoblastoma free of cost, thanks to the funds raised through their first edition of Whitathon. This year over 3500 participants came forward to support the cause.
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.
Retinoblastoma is one of the rarer cancers prevalent today and most commonly (90%) affects children below 3 years of age. Over the past decade, LVPEI has treated more than 2000 patients with retinoblastoma eye cancer. Over 60 to 65% of these patients cannot afford the expense of the treatment, and LVPEI subsidizes it at no cost to the poor patient’s family. LVPEI treats 150 to 200 new cases every year, of which 40% are in late stages and 10% are in very late stages.
L V Prasad Eye Institute’s Whitathon Run raises awareness on Retinoblastoma eye cancer
Speaking before flagging off, of the run, Shri E S L Narasimhan, Hon’ble Governor of Telangana & AP; said, ‘I care for your eye care’ is the theme of this laudable initiative launched by LV Prasad Eye Institute. The Whitathon Run is to promote awareness in parents to ensure that this ailment is detected and treated in the very early stages. This is a wonderful initiative and appreciate LV Prasad Eye Institute for launching this. My request to all the Healthcare organisations is to take a cue from this and launch similar initiatives, so that we can raise the general awakening about all the health problems practically from birth to death. If people become aware and conscious of diseases, the diseases can be detected and prevented at an early stage. My request to participants is not to limit your effort to participating in this run today, but to take the message about the ailment and spread it, so that several more will get to know about it. Awake, Arise, stop not till you reach your goal, that is what this whole initiative is about.
Mr Anjani Kumar, IPS, Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad City; appreciated the initiative of LV Prasad Eye Institute. The presence of participants in such large numbers conveys the message to the entire city, the importance of having awareness about health ailments, early detection of such ailments and to lead a healthy life. Hyderabad is one of the safest cities in India and with such initiative it will become one of the healthiest cities in the country. I thank all the participants for coming in such large numbers and contributing to this noble cause.
Dr. Swathi Kaliki, Ocular Oncologist & Head – Operation Eyesight Universal Institute for Eye Cancer, LV Prasad Eye Institute, said, LV Prasad Eye Institute is not only known for world class eye care but also for rendering free eye care to 50% of the patients from economically deprived sections of the society, for which we raise funds. Thank the 3500 participants at this run for contributing their bit for this cause. We need to spread awareness that eye cancer is possible in little kids and if it can be detected at an early stage and treated, we not only save the vision of a kid but also his life. This cancer occurs in kids less than three years of age and it becomes imperative to spread the awareness about it among all parents. Media is an important partner to accomplish the goal of reaching this message to all parents. White reflux seen in the eye or eye squint in a child needs to be taken seriously and the child should be taken to an eye specialist for eye screening. All parents should know that eye cancer happens in little kids, unlike the general belief that cancer is an ailment of grownups. Therefore any signs of white reflux or squint in the eye are an indication to an eye cancer and should get the child checked by an eye specialist immediately. 98% of the eye cancers happen in children and only in rare instances this is seen in grownups. The prevalence of eye cancers is in less than 10% of the population. Eye cancer if not treated early can be life threatening.
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