On September 9, Maanasi Mahalingam and E Vignesh got married at a kalyana mandapam in Avadi, but in an unusual way. Part of the wedding celebration turned out to an eye donation awareness campaign with many guests coming forward to pledge their eyes. Right from the wedding card to the decoration at the hall, the message encouraging people to join the movement to donate eyes stood out.
The bride’s father, A Mahalingam, who is founder-cum-president of Association for Healthcare Management Professionals - India, decided to use the occasion to take the message on eye donation to friends and family members.
With Maanasi, an optometrist, the task was made easy. The groom and his family joined in. The wedding card was designed with an image of a pair of eyes at its corners with a message that each of us have to be an ambassador for eye donation (Dhaanathil Siranthathu Kann Dhanam).
The banners across the venue also carried a similar message. At the entrance of the hall, a stall was set up with a staff throwing light on eye donation and distributing pledge forms. To make sure the guests stopped by the stall, announcements were frequently made during the reception.
Even the thamboolam bag given to guests had lines about eye donation printed on it.
Mahalingam, known in medical circles as ‘Mahali’, says there were over 3000 guests, and more than 150 people submitted the pledge form at the venue.
“We had many others taking the pledge form online and some have promised to submit it after consulting with their family members,” says Mahalingam, who worked with Sankara Nethralaya for many years.
Call 28281919 for eye donation
August 25 to September 8 is observed as Eye Donation Fortnight, and Mahalingam feels the wedding served as a perfect platform for drumming up support for the cause. The pledge forms will be submitted to Sankara Nethralaya which will in turn dispatch the cards to the respective addresses.
“The details of persons who have agreed to pledge their eyes will also go to nearby eye hospitals, so the donor’s family members can approach the closest hospital,” says Mahalingam.
He says each tertiary eye care hospital has a huge waiting list of people with corneal blindness as eye donors are thin on the ground.