I recently had the pleasure of talking to Peter and Yvette, two longtime Canadian donors who approached Operation Eyesight seeking help for Peter’s childhood friend living in India. While it’s not an everyday occurrence, we went out of our way to arrange eye care for her. This is Peter’s story about Josephine…
“Sometimes, people go above and beyond in their jobs and far exceed our expectations, and the results are nothing short of amazing. Such has been my experience with Operation Eyesight, and we are very grateful. Here is my story:
“I come from a family of five children. We were born in India, and lived there until my family immigrated to Canada in the 1970s. For a great many years, Mary was our family cook and her husband John was the gardener, while their daughter Josephine was our housecleaner. Josephine and my eldest sister are about the same age, so given the length of our association, we effectively grew up together.
“Over the years since we moved from India, my eldest sister has still kept in touch with our former maid and family. We knew Josephine lived in Bangalore, India, with her son Mathew and his wife who is pregnant with their second child, and his aunt Leila (Josephine’s sister) who has been blind from a young age. In March this year, my sister told us that Josephine had neglected to look after her eyes over the years. She had trouble with her right eye, but didn’t tell her son or anyone else because of financial problems. Then her left eye developed a cataract.
“When my wife and I heard about Josephine’s troubles, we became anxious that a second person whom we were close to could lose her sight, so we contacted Mathew. He was very reticent about asking for help, but it became clear that this delay in getting treatment could be very burdensome to everyone and especially to Mathew’s young family. We determined they needed assistance and tried to send money to Mathew for tests, but ran into some difficulties with the channel we had chosen.
“At the same time, we had been Operation Eyesight donors since 1986, and knew your organization worked in India. It occurred to us that maybe Operation Eyesight could help, so I reached out to you.
“We were really impressed when your executive director Brian Foster got in touch with your India staff. They immediately contacted Operation Eyesight’s hospital partner Vittala Institute of Ophthalmology in Bangalore, where Josephine and Mathew live.
“Shortly afterwards, Mathew took his mother in to the clinic. She had severe eye inflammation, complications from 25 years of diabetes, and cataracts in both eyes. After her eye inflammation was reduced, Josephine had operations on first one eye, then a few months later, on the other. Now, she can see in both eyes. Although the family was not charged for the surgery, we were happy to send them some money to help them out.
“My wife Yvette and I feel that Josephine is an excellent success story on two levels, one personal and the other that we have contributed to a VERY worthwhile charity. Operation Eyesight really stepped up and acted promptly. The responsiveness of your staff in India was superb. They made it happen with phone calls the very next day to Mathew and doctors in Bangalore.
“We’ve given to many charities over the years, but this is the first time we’ve received this kind of help. From our perspective, your organization’s level of care and expertise, your timeliness and thoroughness were excellent. We are really impressed. From all of us, thank you!”
A cataract surgery costs only $50 and changes a life. You too can make a donation that will help someone like Josephine! Click here for more information.