If there is anything as noble and as worthy as alleviating the pain and suffering of humanity, it is the act of helping, encouraging, facilitating and funding such initiatives. The Lions Clubs International are known for their ‘Intelligent Philanthropy’ a phrase used by Shri Gopal Krishna Gandhi, illustrious diplomat and grandson of the Mahathma to highlight charity where every dollar or rupee reaches the gold standard in service. They have a knack of identifying and bringing crusaders and champions working silently and unnoticed in the most remote regions under the limelight and honouring them. It was a vivid demonstration of this quality to identify and honour the spirit of service, compassion and sacrifice, so intrinsic and central to healthcare delivery which occupied centre stage at the ‘Helen Keller Remembrance’ and ‘Dr G.Sitalakshmi Gift of sight Award’ day at the Sri V.D.Swami Auditorium, Sankara Nethralaya main campus on the 15th of June 2015 by the Lions Club of Madras Central 324A1 and Sankara Nethralaya.
The day’s proceedings got off to a great start with the Lions Oath of allegiance and a silent prayer for world peace by the Lions and the entire gathering. Introducing the dignitaries on the dais Lion Captain G.N.Venkat Rajaram, President, Lions Club of Central Madras, lauded the spirit of Helen Keller which had manifested in the perseverance and courage of Ms Beno Zephine the first visually challenged IAS officer, Shri Krishna Gopal Tiwari who swam against the current of diversity to become the first visually challenged to reach the position of District Collector and Karthik Sawhney the visually impaired youngster who had strived hard in his academics in spite of his handicap as a reward of which he was selected by the world famous Stanford University to pursue a course in computer science. He cited these as the very epitome of the indomitable courage and hope displayed by Helen Keller in whose honour and memory the day was being observed. A spell binding and riveting short movie capturing the epic of Helen Keller making her historic appeal at the Lions International Convention at Chicago where she describes dispensing eye care as a ‘Challenge’ and an ‘Opportunity’ was screened thanks to the efforts of Lion S.N.Harinarayanan, President-Sight First. Dispensing eye care had become a challenge and an opportunity to Lions worldwide after this watershed meeting.
Senior Cornea Consultant Dr. Swetha Agarwal fondly recalled the yeoman services and passion of Dr G.Sitalakshmi who pioneered the MOOKP process in India, she described her as a ‘Charismatic doctor’ and the ‘Goddess of the Temple of the Eye’. Speaking on the occasion, Chief Guest PMJF Lion N.S. Sankar, International Director, Lions Club International described Lion Dr.SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya as a man of extraordinary and selfless service. The hard work, planning and sincerity of Lion S.N. Harinarayanan, MJF, District Chairperson-Diabetic Retinopathy Detection, Lions Club of Central Madras were highlighted by every Lion speaker; he was lauded as the pillar and backbone of the function. Lion Harinarayanan thanked the speakers and utilized the occasion to express his personal and the Lions Clubs gratitude to the personnel at Sankara Nethralaya for their unflinching support to him and the Lions Clubs initiatives by honouring them with gifts which were given away by senior Lions Club office bearers. Doctors and hospitals offering their service in the remote parts of the country and bringing about a change in the quality of lives of the socially and economically backward sections of society were honoured with the ‘Knights of the blind’ and ‘Dr.G.Sitalakshmi gift of sight award’ by the Chief Guest and dignitaries gathered on the occasion.
The Sankara Nethralaya family salutes the doctors and paramedics and institutions chosen for this rare honour and takes great pride and pleasure in sharing the same below
“I (EYE) CARE” Award. to:
• Lions Karnavati SVP Eye Hospital, Ognaj, Ahamadabad, Gujarat,.
• Kalapataru Lions Nashik, Maharashtra.
“KNIGHT OF THE BLIND” Awards.
• Dr Smita Dheer,l Lions Karnavati SVP Eye Hospital, Ognaj, Ahmadabad,Gujarat..
Dr. G.Sitalaksmi Gift of Sight Award.
•Dr Sharad Patil, Kalpataru Lions Eye Hospital, Nashik, Maharashtra.j.