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Announcement of WHITATHON Run 2018 by L V Prasad Eye Institute

Hyderabad, May 6th, 2018: To raise awareness on early detection of eye cancer (Retinoblastoma) in children, L V Prasad Eye institute (LVPEI) is organizing its first "WHITATHON" Run on May 20 to commemorate the World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week that will be observed from May 13-19, 2018. VVS Laxman, and Tom Moody from SunRisers Hyderabad, the Indian Premier League (IPL) team, unveiled the Whitathon T-shirt on Sunday at the LV Prasad Eye Institute.

Retinoblastoma, most commonly (90%) affects children below 3 years of age. 20 to 25% cases of eye cancer worldwide in children are from India, and 50% of cases worldwide lose their lives due to late detection and inadequate treatment.

Tom Moody speaking at the event said, privileged to be here and being part of something that costs vision. We take our eyesight for granted. I commend the LV Prasad Eye Institute for undertaking a fund-raising event for such a worthy cause and also organising a run to raise awareness among more people. If we as cricketers can help in reaching out to more people and enhance awareness, we would be enthusiastic to be part of it. It is important to be associated because it involves the health of children.

VVS Laxman said, privileged to be at this Institution and amongst a visionary like Dr G N Rao. Few years back when I started my foundation I was looking for a role model and it was someone like Dr GN Rao, who inspired me for his contribution, dedication and the yeomen service he rendered to humanity in the area of eye care. He treated both rich and poor alike and that is something which is very inspiring. When Dr Swathi invited me for this event, I was surprised to hear that eye cancer existed in children, it was a real eye opener for me. This is a wonderful initiative by the Institute and I expect each one of you would spread the word about this. The best thing is it can be cured and we can see there the little champions who endured the pain and come out valiantly. How can the kid know of he suffering from cancer, it is the responsibility of the parent, paediatrician to identify that white reflex and early detection is very very critical like in all cancers. That’s why "WHITATHON" Run on May 20 is very important, it’s not just a run, it’s a run with a purpose, a run for spreading the message, which will save the lives and vision. I urge all the Hyderabadi’s to come forward and participate in this run, one it will help you to become fit but also help to raise the awareness and spread the message, which can save the eye and vision of these young kids.

Speaking on the occasion Dr. G. N. Rao, Chair, L V Prasad Eye Institute; said, LV Prasad Eye Institute has been on a journey to counter the menace of blindness and vision impairment for the last 31 years. We have been working with one principle of providing care to any one coming to us for any eye problem, irrespective of their paying capacity. But beyond saving vision and restoring vision, our journey also includes saving lives and that is the reason we are here today. Lot of people can’t believe that eye can have cancer. But that’s a painful factor and more painful is that most of the eye cancers in India is among children. India is home to the largest number of eye cancer patients in the world, a dubious distinction we can do without. The best way is to face head on like in cricket and tackle the problem. The objective of WHITATHON is to enhance awareness about eye cancer amongst general public. Your presence here will bring awareness about eye cancers on bring the problem on to the radar screens of more people. This way if the problem can be detected early, many lives can be saved, eyes can be saved and sight can also be saved.

Striving to create awareness, Dr Swathi Kaliki, Ocular Oncologist and Head - Operation Eyesight Universal Institute for Eye Cancer at L V Prasad Eye Institute said, "Every day 4 children are diagnosed with eye cancer in India and worldwide, 50 per cent children with retinoblastoma die because of late detection. It is critical to create awareness on the importance of early detection of the disease, so that no child dies of eye cancer needlessly, and our children enjoy better chances of eye and vision preservation."

Over 8000 new cases of eye cancer are detected every year worldwide, with over 1000 to 1500 new cases in India. LVPEI treats about 150 to 200 cases every year, of which 5 to 10% are in very late stages. Retinoblastoma is curable if the tumour is detected early. Early diagnosis can help save the eye through chemotherapy and focal treatment, thus saving the life, eye, and the vision of the child. Over the past decade, LVPEI has treated 1500+ patients with retinoblastoma eye cancer, most them being children less than 5 years of age, and of that 60% were treated free of cost.

Dr Swathi further added that the incidence of the disease is 1 in 18,000 live births. It is time to make detailed eye check-ups a part of mandatory paediatric examinations. Parents and physicians should be educated about symptoms which could otherwise be easily dismissed as an infection. There is a need for increased awareness about this life-threatening disease among parents.

The Run will be flagged off from People's Plaza, Necklace Road, Hyderabad, Telangana 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. The event is being supported by the Hyderabad Runners Society, the torchbearers of community running in Hyderabad.

Run categories and registration fee:

  • 3K Fun Run – ₹ 400
  • 5K (Untimed Run) – ₹ 500
  • 5K (Timed Run) – ₹ 600
  • 10K (Timed Run) – ₹ 750

To register log on to: https://www.ifinish.in/event_details/WHITATHON_2018

 About L V Prasad Eye Institute

The L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) was established in 1987 at Hyderabad as a not-for-profit, non-government, public-spirited, comprehensive eye care institution. LVPEI is governed by two trusts: the Hyderabad Eye Institute and the Hyderabad Eye Research Foundation. The Institute is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Prevention of Blindness and a Global Resource Centre for VISION 2020: The Right to Sight initiative. LVPEI has ten active arms to its areas of operations: Clinical Services, Education, Research, Vision Rehabilitation, Rural and Community Eye Health, Eye Banking, Advocacy and Policy Planning, Capacity Building, Innovation and Product Development.

The LVPEI pyramidal model of eye care delivery currently includes a Centre of Excellence in Hyderabad, 3 tertiary centres in Bhubaneswar, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada, 18 secondary and 171 primary care vision centres that cover the remotest rural areas in the four states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Karnataka. For further information, visit the Institute’s website, www.lvpei.org

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