Helen Keller Remembrance Day awards presented

Healthcare institutions, doctors and volunteers of social service organisations were honoured for their contributions to eye care at a function conducted by the Lions Club of Madras Central at Sankara Nethralaya on Thursday.

The Lions Club instituted the Helen Keller Remembrance Day awards eleven years ago. Leila Mohan, Chief Consultant Ophthalmologist, Comtrust Eye Hospital, Calicut, was presented with Dr.G.Sitalakshmi Gift of Sight Award for her dedicated service towards eye care. The award was instituted in memory of Dr. Sitalakshmi, cornea surgeon who worked at Sankara Nethralaya.

Five institutions were chosen for I (Eye) Care Award for their service to underprivileged patients. Lions Club of Karim Nagar Charitable Eye Hospital, Andhra Pradesh and R.R.Lions Eye Hospital, Andhra Pradesh were honoured for conducting numerous eye camps for students and treating patients from rural areas.

C.S.Durai, managing trustee of Tulsi Rural Development Trust, Chennai, received the award for conducting outreach programmes in remote areas of Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chittoor districts and providing scholarships to students.

Paediatric Ophthalmology Department of Sankara Nethralaya was given the award for conducting eye screening camps for schoolchildren. Sankara Nethralaya, Rameswaram, was commended with an award for its community service.

The six recipients of Knight of the Blind Award included ophthalmologists, social workers and paramedical staff.

Presenting the awards, Ashok Mehta, past international president, Lions Clubs International, said the initiative was to encourage the recipients to continue with their stupendous service.

The Lions Club, which has been mainly focussing on treatment of cataract, would soon lay emphasis on other types of blindness, including childhood blindness and diabetic retinopathy, he said.

Sankara Nethralaya's chairman emeritus S.S.Badrinath, said students and doctors must imbibe the qualities such as perseverance and patience of Helen Keller. Lions Club district governor 324 A1 T.Bhakthavathsalam, Past Lions Club district governor K.S.Lakshmi, and Lions Club of Madras Central president R.Ravindran spoke.