Heavy spells of rains and thundershowers throughout the weekend kept the 300 odd young volunteers on their toes for more than 24 hours on the trot but could not keep away thousands of citizens mainly comprising of young school children (who turned up in big numbers despite term exams), from taking a pledge to go green and donate eyes.
Sector 4 turned festive early Sunday morning, to run, walk, dance, paint, for twin social goals; eye donation and tree plantation. The event was an initiative of two social organizations, both run by young volunteers; Niramaya- a grass-root NGP dedicated to prevention of blindness and vision restoration and Youth Social & Cultural Association working to make city cleaner and greener.
Three different categories of runs, 10K, 4K and 3K were flagged off by young business leader Manish Sharma, MD & CEO, Panasonic India and Asia Pac and first Indian to win a Golf Gold in special Olympics at Los Angeles, 17 years old Ranveer Singh Saini.
Venue also had events like Yoga and Zumba which were enjoyed by hundreds. On the sport drawing competition invited the creative ones. A team of skaters enthralled the crowds. Event became livelier with a colourful carnival taken out by schoolchildren who carried hundreds of placards with them on social causes.
Dr. T N Ahooja, President, Niramaya and Mr. Pramod Sharma, President, Youth Social & Cultural Association briefed the large gathering on importance of the twin social causes. Niramaya has been on forefront of providing free community eye care to rural and urban poor since 2004 and has touched more than 2.5 lakh lives in southern Haryana and parts of Rajasthan. Netra Daan Chetna Abhiyan which started from Bal Bhawan, Sector 4, Gurgaon in 2004 has been successful in taking up annual eye donations in Gurgaon from near zero to almost one per day. Corneas are retrieved by a trained medical team with-in 4 hours of death of a person with the process taking less than 25 minutes. Family members of deceased can call a toll free helpline 1919(or 0124-2254848) 24X7.
Mr. Pramod Sharma, President Youth Social & Cultural Association, thanked the young crowd for taking up challenge of making Gurgaon greener. He reminded the young generation that increased green cover is important for future generations and their responsibility. Youth Social & Cultural Association volunteers distributed saplings to all the participants who also took a pledge towards eye donation. He also shared that since last fortnight hundreds of saplings have already been planted all over Gurgaon in various sectors and city.
Rajiv Pradhan from Tej Kohli Foundation reaffirmed support to sponsor all the corneal transplants that are taken up in the city.
Noted spiritual Guru Swami Dharamdev and Dy. Speaker, Haryana Assembly Santosh Yadav exhorted the participants especially children to take up this mantle and make Gurgaon greener and free from preventable blindness. They also facilitated the winners of various run categories.
Presence and active support of RWAs, Lions club, Sheetla Mata Seva Samiti, Arya Veer Seva Dal, Mahindru Foundation and various religious organizations helped the event organizers with volunteer support.
Participants took home a simple message. Each one plant one (tree) and donate two (eyes). Gurgaon has a population of 1.7 million and with about 20000 annual deaths, it can overtake entire India’s annual eye donation if all eye are donated upon death instead of being burnt or buried. If one in every two of its citizens plants a tree, we will have one million new trees around to helps us all breathe better.
It must be reiterated here that India has 2.1 million persons who suffer from Corneal Blindness. They can see if a Cornea transplant is performed. Only source of Corneas for transplant is eye donation which must be performed with in 4- 6 hours of death. Against this, average no. of eye donations in India languishes at about 38,600 per annum implying that even an impossible wait of 100 years will not help most.
Gurgaonites rocked on Sunday morning for Go Green Run for Vision. Its time to follow up with action.