May 2022

Sankara Nethralaya Bags Netra Samrakshak Award (Legendary Institution for Community Services)

PRID Rtn Dr. Manoj Desai and DG Rtn. Fazal Mahmood presented Sankara Nethralaya with the Netra Samrakshak (Legendary Institution for community services) award. Dr. Veena Baskaran, Head of Community Services received the award on behalf of our institution and thanked everyone for their support towards this noble cause.

The award was presented at the first ever Rotary National  community ophthalmology conference organised by Rotary International District 3190 And Rotary Avoidable Blindness Foundation (Chairman Mr. M. Ravikumar) was held in J.N. Tata Auditorium, Indian Institute of Science, Benguluru on May 21 -22 2022.

Sankara Nethralaya family’s heartfelt thanks goes to all the opthalmologists, nurses, and staff who make our mission a reality each day.

Madhu Gulati donates $130,000 to Sankara Nethralaya in memory of her in-laws

Sankara Nethralaya (SN) is a non-profit charity organization providing ophthalmic(eye) care to millions of patients throughout India for the last four decades. Nethralaya also provides ophthalmic education and India-centric research. To support the mission of Sankara Nethralaya, Sankara Nethralaya USA was established back in 1988. The main goal of the Trust creation was to have the NRIs support and contribute to the Noble cause.

Sankara Nethralaya USA is one of the trusted and well-respected charity organizations in the USA. The Trust also received Charity Navigator’s “Four Stars” highest rating for maintaining financial accountability and fiscal transparency for funds donated by donors and how they are utilized towards the stated cause.

Sankara Nethralaya has recently received a whopping Rs. 1 crore ($130,000) donation from Madhu Gulatiji in memory of her in-laws. Her generous donation would help to care for 2000 deserving blind patients in India.

Jagdish Chander Gulati, Ms. Gulati’s husband who preferred to be addressed as JC, was born in 1938 to Bhisham Ji and Padma Vati Gulati in a town named Bannu which was part of Northwest Frontier during the Pre Independence-Era. Gulati’s were a simple Punjabi family and could trace their roots back to four generations in the same town.

JC’s father Bhishamji, born in 1906 to Manna Ram and Ganga Vati Gulati was named Bhisham because in Mahabharata Bhisham was Ganga’s son. He was the oldest of the three siblings. He was very enthusiastic about studies because he knew that hard work and education would get him somewhere in life. He did his Master of Science from The University of Punjab, Lahore in 1929 in the First Division and was appointed as Chief Engineer of All India Radio, Lahore.

While studying for his Masters, in 1927 he got married to a local Punjabi girl, Padma Vati Narula, born in 1911 to Roop Chand and Binni Vati Narula, oldest of the six siblings. She was a simple girl endowed with high values and dignity. She supported her husband in all his ventures and took care of the family and was blessed with seven children (five sons and two daughters).

In 1942, Bhisham Ji Gulati was posted to All India Radio, Madras (present day Chennai) as Chief Engineer. He moved to Madras with his family, with a heavy heart because he was leaving behind the whole clan of Gulati’s and Narula’s in Bannu where the political conditions were very unstable.

When the Migration took place in 1947 and 1948, all the Gulati’s and Narula’s moved back to India. It became a mission for Bhisham Ji and Padma Vati Gulati to make sure that each member of the extended family got settled quickly. Bhisham ji instilled in nieces and nephews his two solid principles – hard work and education is the key to success. They both sacrificed their own comforts to pay for the school and college tuition for the children of the extended families. Their home was an open house with warm, simple and nutritious food on the table for any visitor.

Bhisham Ji Gulati did so well as Chief Engineer that he was admitted as a member to The Institution of Electrical Engineers in England, UK in 1957 which was considered as a very high honor in those days. In 1958, he was posted to All India Radio, Delhi as Chief Engineer and that’s where he worked until his retirement in 1963. He passed away in 1970 leaving behind his wife Padma Vati Gulati as the head of the family and she carried on until her death in 1989. They are survived by five daughters-in-law, fourteen grand-children, twenty five great grand-children and one great grand, grand-child. All the children are doing very well in their chosen field in three countries, India, USA, and Singapore.

This donation is a humble tribute to Bhisham Ji Gulati and Padma Vati Gulati from each and every member of the Gulati and Narula Families. OM SHANTI

Both Sankara Nethralaya USA and the Sankara Nehralaya India teams, thank Ms. Madhu Gulatiji for her generous donation and shared the following appreciations.

Dr. Girish Rao, President of Sankara Nethralaya: Sincere gratitude to Madhuji for the generous donation and to Balaji for his tireless services.

Sankara Netharalaya USA Executive Committee & Board of Trustees appreciation:

S.V. Acharya, President Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya USA: Mrs. Madhu Gulati Ji – We greatly appreciate your generous contribution of $ 130,000 for naming a floor at our Chennai hospital in memory of your late in-laws Bhishamji and Padmavati. This kind gesture of yours will go a long way in materializing our Founder Living Legend, Padmabhushan Dr. S. S. Badrinath’s vision of providing free eyesight to indigent patients and eradicating blindness in the Indian sub-continent.

Bala Reddy Indurti, President, Sankara Netharalaya USA: Dear Ms Madhuji, I am truly honored to be the receiver of your generosity $130,000 (one hundred thirty thousand US dollars) on behalf of Sankara Nethralaya to support 2000 indigent blind patients in India. “The highest of distinction is service to others” – your magnanimity & selflessness is unparalleled, and it would bring hope and ray of light into many unfortunate lives. Thank you heart fully, and I am sure your in-laws would be delighted watching from above. Glad to know you during my tenure as Sankara Nethralaya USA president. I am also very thankful to your son Vishal for supporting these noble deeds.

Moorthy Rekapalli, Vice President: Madhuji’s generous contribution will restore vision for thousands of indigent patients every year. That is a great service to humanity and nation.

Banu Ramakrishnan, Treasurer: It is really a bid donation Ms Madhuji. We the SNOM Trust family thank you for your kindness and generosity.

Prasad Rani, Jt Secretary: Great news!

Krishnaraj Bhat, Jt Treasurer: Through your donation we will be able to restore vision and provide essential vision surgery to countless people in need. You truly make the difference for us, and we are extremely grateful!

Leela Krishnamurthy, Past President: Huge Dear Madhuji and Vishal, what an extremely charity minded family our deepest gratitude to you Ms Madhuji and Vishal for identifying Sankara Nethralaya as a recipient of your huge donation. Your generous donation will restore the eyesight of 2000 patients. We are sure that you will receive the blessings of these very grateful people who have received the gift of sight Gods blessings to you and your family. With deep appreciation.

Dr. Raj Modi, BOT: Dear Madhu ji and family. Thank you very much for this very generous donation for this very important cause. Your contribution will help thousands of poor people, I assure you the amount you have donated will be used properly for the intended purpose. I have been associated with Sankara Nethralaya for the last 35 years. We really thank you and your family for this generous donation.

Srini Vangimalla, BOT: Madhuji and family, thank you for your great generosity and thoughtful donation to Sankara Nethralaya. Your support helps to further our mission of eradicating preventable blindness and providing free access to eye care in rural India.

Shankar Setty, BOT: Dear Madhu ji, your contribution speaks volumes about your values towards society, particularly the community who needs help to get their eyes fixed and your donation goes a long way!! God bless you & your family. We are very thankful!!

Upendra Rachupally, BOT: Amazing, Awesome, and motivational.

Meher Lanka, BOT: Dear Madhu ji, we are highly indebted to you and have tremendous appreciation for your magnanimous contribution to Sankara Nethralaya. Providing eyesight to the needy is indeed a very noble deed. Thank you so much, our sincere Pranams to you!

Anand Dasari, BOT: Dear Madhu ji and family, thank you for your generous contributions for the people in need. Service to humanity is service to God. May God continually bless your family with abundance of health, happiness, and wealth.

Ravi Maraka, BOT: Dear Madhuji & family, Thank you very much for your generous donation to Sankara Nethralaya. Your donation not only helps underprivileged people in India, and it also inspires many people to follow your footsteps. I am truly blessed to witness this kind of generous donation from you.

Jagannath Vedula. BOT: Thank you Balaji for sharing the inspiring news about Smt. MadhuJi. It is great to see their faith in Sankara Nethralaya and its mission. This donation will provide vision to many people in need and will stay as an icon of inspiration. Lord bless Madhuji and family with abundance and a big heart.

Piram Manickavasagam, BOT: Thanks, and may God bless in abundance for generous donation.

Shyam Appali, BOT: Thank you for your generous donation, Madhu Ji. Your donation will enable us to provide much-needed services to India’s thousands of indigent blind people. Our programs could not exist without the generosity of individuals like you. Thank you for making a difference with your donation.

Bhaskar Ganti, BOT: Dear MadhuJi, through your donation we will be able to restore vision and provide essential vision surgery to countless people in need. You truly make the difference for us, and we are extremely grateful!

Vamsi Eruvaram, BOT: Wow! Thanks, Madhuji.

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Raising Awareness during World Retinoblastoma Week

World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week was observed by the Retinoblastoma team at Sankara Nethralaya between May 8th and May 14th 2022. From arranging a press meet to setting up a white board at the entrance to the MAHYCO block for the young retinoblastoma survivors to place their hand – stamps. The Retinoblastoma team poured their hearts and souls into highlighting this curable childhood cancer, its prevention, and cure, and to spread awareness about this disease to the general public. Over 150 children with childhood eye cancers are treated by Sankara Nethralaya each year – one of the highest treatment rates in the world. This institution is also one of the few eye care facilities in India to specialise in childhood eye cancer (Retinoblastoma). Sankara Nethralaya offers cost-free treatment to the children from disadvantaged backgrounds and does not discriminate on the treatment.

Dr Charanya C, Associate Consultant, Viteoretinal services gave a short introduction, titled “Retinoblastoma – an eye opener,” focusing on the fact that fighting Retinoblastoma in children is a team effort. She explained that familial or heredity contributed to several cases, in which instance, the disease can even be prevented in the womb.

The press meet included a panel of doctors who are involved in treating children with childhood eye cancer, alongside Sankara Nethralaya’s well-experienced retinoblastoma specialists to field the questions from the press. The panel included Dr Veena Noronha, Senior Radiologist; V. R. R Scans; Dr. K. Satish Srinivas and Dr. Christopher John, Radiation Oncology, Ramachandra Medical Centre, Dr Pritam Chatterjee, and Dr. (Prof) S. Krishna Kumar, Chief Scientist, Laboratory Services – Histo Pathology Lab, among others. Dr. Lingam Gopal, Distinguished Senior Consultant and Dr. G. Suganeswari, Senior Consultant, Department of Vitreo Retinal Services were present to moderate and field questions from the press.

The panel of doctors stressed the fact that this disease was not just managed by a single ocular oncologist but many people such as a paediatrician, paediatric oncologist, an anaesthetist, a radiologist, an intervention radiologist. The priority for the Retinoblastoma team at Sankara Nethralaya is to first try and save the life of the children, the second priority is to save the eye and thirdly, save the vision, if possible.

Dr. G. Suganeswari, Senior Consultant, Vitreoretina and Oncology Services, said, “Retinoblastoma is a curable childhood cancer and it is a very common cancer in the childhood period. In India, every year, 2000 children are born with the disease, which means one in eighteen thousand children are born with a retinoblastoma and these children belong to the lower social economic strata.”

The parents find it difficult to afford the expensive and prolonged treatment. The Retinoblastoma team helps these children with the most advanced treatment for different stages of retinoblastoma, from intraocular tumours, to tumours which have already spread away from the eye (extraocular tumours), and tumours which have already spread to the organs- distant metastasis.

A few of the patients and their guardians were also present to tell their stories and contribute towards raising awareness about the disease. Two of the patients had familial retinoblastoma, while the cause of the disease was unknown (sporadic) for one patient. The families of the child survivors were very appreciative of the chance to speak about this disease and how their children were lucky to be treated cost-free as even the middle class families cannot afford the cost of lengthy treatments.

Dr. G. Suganeswari reiterated that the patients she had treated were all bright and had great futures – with the support of their families these cancer survivors could go on to achieve greater things. She also cautioned everyone present that the survivors of childhood eye cancer had to come back for regular follow-ups as they had a chance of developing other cancers later in life.

Sankara Nethralaya is one of the few hospitals where the chemotherapy is an in-house facility to make it easier for the patients to get all treatments under one single roof. Housing a chemotherapy ward involves a lot of commitment from many people and requires collaboration with other fraternity hospitals to manage the child patients.

The gathering was reassured that there were many NGOs and charities who are coming forward to help these child patients get cost-free life and vision saving treatment. The press meet closed on a positive note with the doctors assuring everyone that it was possible to save the life of every child, if timely treatment was given.

Indian Society of Anaesthesiologists (ISA) honours Dr. Jaichandran V. V.

On the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee Celebration of the Indian Society of Anaesthesiologists (ISA), held at Chennai on 14-05-2022, ISA National President Dr. Venkatgiri K.M., Vice-President Dr. Anjali Rakesh Bhure, Secretary Dr. Naveen Malthora, and other office bearers honoured our anaesthesiologist Dr. Jaichandran V. V. for his contributions in the field of Ophthalmic Anaesthesia.

Sankara Nethralaya family congratulates Dr. Jaichandran V. V. on this momentous occasion and thanks him for his dedication and enthusiastic contributions.

Dr. TSS receives Charaka Award in recognition of his dedication to Pediatric Opthalmology

Dr. T. S. Surendran received the Charaka Award conferred on him by the Rotary Club of Guindy acknowledging his long years of dedicated service in the field of pediatric ophthalmology. Our beloved Chief, Dr. S. S. Badrinath, conveyed his blessings to Dr. T. S. Surendran on this memorable occasion.

The awards ceremony was held at the Hyatt Regency, Teynampet, on 11th May 2022.