L V Prasad Eye Institute hosts ‘Whitathon Run’ to raise awareness about Eye Cancers in Children!

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Hyderabad, May 2022: Whitathon Run, initiated in 2018, is L V Prasad Eye Institute’s annual cause-related event focusing on raising awareness and funds for early diagnosis and treatment of Retinoblastoma – a Life and Vision-threatening Eye Cancer in Children. One of the most common symptoms of Retinoblastoma is White Reflex (white glow) in a child’s eye. Through this run, LVPEI aims to raise awareness among the public that if they spot a ‘White Reflex’ in a child’s eye, it could be a sign of eye cancer that needs immediate medical intervention. The funds raised through this run, helps the Institute to provide free treatment to children from underprivileged families who have retinoblastoma.

The first edition of the run was organized in 2018 with 2000+ runners, the second edition in 2019 had 2500+ runners, and the third edition (virtual run) in 2021 had 350+ runners. With the funds raised, LVPEI has been able to provide free treatment to children with retinoblastoma who come from underprivileged backgrounds. The treatment for eye cancer is very expensive and happens over a longer duration.

The Fourth Edition of the WHITATHON RUN was organized at People’s Plaza, Necklace Road, Hyderabad, today. Like every year, this year too Hyderabad Runners supported the run. There are three categories in the run – 3km (fun run), 5Km (timed run) and 10km (timed run). The run was flagged off by Sri M Rajesh Chandra, IPS, Deputy Commissioner of Police. Dr Gullapalli N Rao – Founder and Chair, Board of Trustees, L V Prasad Eye Institute and Dr Swathi Kaliki, Ocular Oncologist and Head – Operation Eyesight Universal Institute for Eye Cancer at L V Prasad Eye Institute.

Speaking after flagging of the run Sri Rajesh Chandra said, Whitathon Run is for a noble cause to create awareness about eye cancers in children. Early detection of eye cancer helps save several lives of kids besides their sight and eye.

Dr Gullapalli N Rao said, we are here for a very important cause, saving the lives of children. Which is possible by raising public awareness about eye cancer in children. This helps parents to seek appropriate medical help as soon as they identify abnormality in child’s eye and that can be treated, we can save lives, and in early stage the sight and the eye too can be saved. Nearly 20 to 25% of the world burden of this problem is shared by our country, which is approximately 1500 to 2000 cases. Dr Swathi and her team at L V Prasad Eye Institute, take care of a large percentage of these cases in the country. So, we need your help to raise awareness about this. What we are addressing in India is a tip of the iceberg, several, especially in the rural areas go undetected and end up in death. We want to promote awareness to prevent needless deaths among children from eye cancer.

Dr Swathi Kaliki, Ocular Oncologist and Head – Operation Eyesight Universal Institute for Eye Cancer at L V Prasad Eye Institute says, “This is a Whitathon Run organized to highlight the white reflex in infant’s eye, which is a sign of cancer called Retinoblastoma. This cancer is seen in infants below three years of age. If the parents see a white reflex in their kid’s eye, they should visit an eye hospital, because it could be an eye cancer and early detection helps to prevent unnecessary deaths. We extend our sincere thanks to Sri M Rajesh Chandra, IPS, Deputy Commissioner of Police, for joining us for the run.”

We also acknowledge and extend our sincere thanks to our Diamond Sponsor: GTN Industries Ltd.; Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Ltd.; Alcon Laboratories (India) Pvt. Ltd.; our Gold Sponsors: National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) Ltd.; Gebauer Medizintechnik GMBH; Techwave Consulting Pvt. Ltd.; Optimus Drugs Pvt. Ltd.; our Silver Sponsors: Joyalukkas Foundation; Vision Rx Lab Pvt. Ltd.; Essilor India Pvt. Ltd.; Aswini Homeo & Ayurvedic Products Pvt. Ltd.; Biomedix Optotechnik & Devices Pvt Ltd.; and our Bronze Sponsor: Entod Pharmaceuticals Ltd.; Neyon Lens; and Phonographic Performance Limited. We also would like to thank our other supporters: Delta Lens Pvt. Ltd; Asian Surgical Company; Acuitic Consulting Engineers; Alankar Traders; Axis Bank Ltd; and Om Tao Scientific Apparatus.”

The t-shirt for the fourth edition of Whitathon was unveiled by India’s pride – two-time Olympic medallist and world champion, Badminton Player Padma Bhushan Awardee P V Sindhu. The unveiling event also had a video message from VVS Laxman, Head Coach, National Cricket Academy, and a long-time supporter of Whitathon.

Need to raise awareness:

· Retinoblastoma (eye cancer) most commonly affects children below 3 years of age (90%)

· 20 to 25% of cases of eye cancer worldwide in children are from India, and 50% of cases worldwide lose their lives due to late detection and inadequate treatment

· Retinoblastoma is curable if the tumour is detected and treated early; thus saving the life, eye, and vision of the child

· Over the past decade, LVPEI has treated more than 2000 patients with retinoblastoma eye cancer

· Though it was possible to save the life of the child in 90% of the cases, the eyesight of the child could be saved in only 45% of the cases, the reason being late presentation of the case

· Hence, it is important to raise awareness about the common symptoms of retinoblastoma in children and educate the public (specially young parents) on the importance of seeking timely medical care

Need to raise funds:

· Retinoblastoma treatment is expensive and long in duration

· Over 60 to 65% of patient families cannot afford the expense of the treatment

· Thanks to the funds received from such cause-related events and donations, LVPEI is able to provide free treatment to children from underprivileged families

The winners in the various categories are

10 KM Top 3 Women

1st Winner Sunima Dila, Jersey No. 1280 Time: 50:54 Seconds

2nd Winner Kitu Sheoran, Jersey No. 1212 Time: 53:56 Seconds

3rd Winner Smita Chamling, Jersey No. 1119 Time: 59:10 Seconds

5 KM Top 3 Women

1st Winner Kamala Kunala, Jersey No. 5064 Time: 29:36 Seconds

2nd Winner Meenal Agarwal, Jersey No. 5079 Time: 31:39 Seconds

3rd Winner Srijana Gupta, Jersey No. 5161 Time: 36:51 Seconds

10 KM Top 3 Men

1st Winner Vijay, Jersey No. 1298 Time: 40:06 Seconds

2nd Winner Manoj Kumar, Jersey No. 1272 Time: 42:50 Seconds

3rd Winner Devkant Tyagi, Jersey No. 1241 Time: 43:19 Seconds

5 KM Top 3 Men

2nd Winner Venu Reddy, Jersey No. 5067 Time: 24:06 Seconds

3rd Winner Viresh, Jersey No. 5242 Time: 24:31 Seconds

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