Thousands of Gurgaon residents, including schoolchildren, traded a lazy Sunday morning for the "Walk for Vision", a blindfolded walk to spread awareness on eye donation.
Around 3000 people lined up to join cricketers Mithun Manhas and Pradeep Sangwan who had played for IPL's Delhi Daredevils team). The event is expected to find a place in the Limca Book of Records for the unique initiative by any social organisation, Gurgaon-based NGO Niramaya, the organiser, claimed.
R.S. Jain, an 81-year old resident of Sector 14 who participated, said that he was able to feel the pain of visually-impaired people for the first time. "Today I could feel the pain the visually-impaired people carry. I have pledged to donate my eyes," Jain said.
"Walk for Vision" was flagged off by Sukhbir Kataria, Minister of State for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Government of Haryana, and Gurgaon Police Commissioner S.S. Deswal. Both officials walked the entire stretch, pledged eye donation and encouraged everyone to do so.
A major attraction after the event was a live performance by Athrava, a popular band led by Anant and Saurabh of Radio Mirchi fame.
The audience jived to popular hits belted out by the band.
About 20 schools participated in the event with full gusto sending about 1800 children for the event. The initiative was part of the "Eye Donation Fortnight" which is observed from August 25 to September 8 all over the country.
Niramaya has been spearheading an ongoing campaign to enhance awareness about eye donation. Niramaya Secretary Virender Pankaj said that in the current year, 168 eye donations were executed in Gurgaon in the first five months.
"This can be contrasted with an annual average of about 100 eye donations in Haryana as against 500 in the last three months in Gurgaon alone," he added.
Dr. Hitendra Ahooja, Medical Director, Niramaya, expressed hope that the number would soon exceed 1000 per annum in Gurgaon, like Hyderabad.
Rajeev Pradhan made an announcement on behalf of the Tej Kohli Foundation, named after a well-known entrepreneur and philanthropist based in UK, that they would bear the cost of monthly corneal transplants being performed by the eye bank. This would entail a monthly donation of about R1.5 lakh.
Ashok Mahindru, Chairman Advance Group, announced the launch of Run for Vision Foundation to spread awareness on a national level.
A nearly 100-strong volunteer team led by Manoj Manchanda, Yatin Ahooja and Ashutosh Mahindru ensured that the event went off smoothly.