127 corneas and more to follow

P. Sudhakar
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Village on Nagercoil-Thiruvananthapuram Highway achieves a milestone

Maadathattuvilai villagers receiving a shield for eye donations at a function held in Palayamkottai. —Photo: A. SHAIKMOHIDEEN
Maadathattuvilai villagers receiving a shield for eye donations at a function held in Palayamkottai. —Photo: A. SHAIKMOHIDEEN

A nondescript village along the Nagercoil – Thiruvananthapuram Highway is lighting up the lives of scores of visually challenged individuals.

Maadathattuvilai, 13 km from Nagercoil, has emerged as a role model for other villages by spearheading an eye donation campaign that has inspired the local population to commit to the cause and help bridge the gap between the demand for corneas and their availability.

The first batch of 80 donors from the village registered their names back in 2002 following an awareness raising seminar and a funeral service at the local St. Sebastian’s Church.

Since then, the members of ‘Thirukkudumba Thiru Iyakkam’ (Holy Family Movement) have been visiting homes in the event of a death to convince family members to donate the eyes of the deceased.

"When we visit homes, somebody in the crowd would remark that the ‘eye-plucking gang’ had arrived. We ignore these rekarks. After consoling the bereaved family, we inform the parish priest and then the hospital to harvest the cornea," says V. Rexin, a member of ‘Thirukkudumba Thiru Iyakkam’.

Rev. Fr. Dominic and his deputy Rev. Fr. Titus Mohan, who played a key role in creating awareness at Maadathattuvilai early on, are now taking the message of eye donation to Appattivilai, Mulagumoodu, Pallavilai, Chettisaarvilai, Chembaruththivilai, Maaththiravilai and Yettracode. "We’ve appealed to the Bishop of Kottar to make it mandatory to donate the eyes of every priest after his death. Now we’re encouraging the public to donate other organs too as the most unfortunate happening in one’s life will virtually resurrect someone else from death," Rev. Fr. Titus Mohan says.

CSI Bishop of Tirunelveli Diocese Rt. Rev. J.J. Christdoss handed over a shield to "Thirukkudumba Thiru Iyakkam" of Maadathattuvilai in Kanyakumari district in a function held at Palayamkottai on Wednesday.




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