It was a moment of great pride and fulfilment for an institution founded on the principles of compassion, love and service with a smile, when the Lions Club International, the world’s premium service, relief and support organization chose to bestow its highest award on a doctor who has been associated with its ‘cost free community services’ from the day it was started.
Dr.Sheila John, one of its long serving doctors and Head of the Department, Teleophthalmology, Multimedia and e-learning was honoured with a ‘Life Time Achievement award’ by the Lions Clubs International. The award citation richly lauded her meritorious service in the ‘Medical field’ and hailed her as a great person who deserves all accolades and commendations for her meritorious and dedicated services and underlined that the award was being presented in recognition of her remarkable services.
It was an unforgettable X’Mas gift for Dr Sheila John as she walked up to the dais to a round of loud applause from the distinguished audience, to receive the award from Lion G.Ramu, Regional Chairperson, Lions Clubs International district 324 A 6, on the 25th of December 2017, at a glittering ceremony held at ‘Hotel Savera’ Chennai to mark the regional meet of Region-9.
Speaking to the corporate communications department Dr Sheila John strongly underlined that the concept of ‘Cost free community services’ to the indigent visually impaired was the brainchild of the illustrious founder and chairman Emeritus of Sankara Nethralaya, Dr SS.Badrinath, adding that the initiative assumed significance since there were few institutions offering, free eye care as an exclusive service and on such a large scale during those times. She recalled with pride that Outreach camps were started by Sankara Nethralaya at Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts in year 1992 and this year marks 25 glorious years of cost free service to the indigent visually impaired through outreach camps. Fondly reminiscing the renting of a building by the institution for its first community hospital at Pammal , a quiet hamlet close to Pallavaram, located at the periphery of the city in 1997, exactly 20 years ago, she recalled that there was an element of uncertainty in terms of financial sustenance of the initiative, since an operation of such magnitude was something that had not been tried in the past and how divine providence came in the form of generous support by the Lions Club, Tulsi Trust and individual philanthropists which made the initiative a huge success with a large number of patients from the nearby villages being dispensed totally cost free eye care, which encouraged many other eye care institutions to emulate the shining example.
The Sankara Nethralaya family expresses its hearty congratulations and best wishes to Dr Sheila John for being bestowed with this rare honour and wishes her many more honours and recognitions.