One of the ideas behind maovember is to show results for the people who trust us with donations. Last year, we supported The Library Project and saw firsthand how our funds translated into books, shelves, tables, chairs and more for a migrant children’s school.
This year we are backing Orbis, which focuses on treating and preventing blindness among the poor in China, and aim to fund a minimum of 25 cataract surgeries for 800 yuan each.
George Smith of Orbis sent me the following case study from Heilongjiang, which typifies the kind of people the maovember campaign will help. Once that maovember money is in the hands of Orbis, we will be able to get photos of the actual people who regain their sight.
Orbis Case Study
An old man held by his wife came to the ophthalmology department of Qiqihar Maternal and Children’s Hospital on November 3, 2014. It was already late in the afternoon. He was the last patient of that day.The poor man was from Xilian Village in Keshan County, which was about 200 kilometers away.
The man was diagnosed with cataracts three years ago. However, he didn’t undergo surgery at that time because the symptoms were minor and he lacked money. Now he could barely see anything — only faint light — as the disease had become more serious. What’s worse, the disease made the man unable to work and increased his family’s burden in life.
The old couple had a son and a daughter. But neither of them had time to bring the old man and his wife to the city since they were so busy with the fall farm work and caring for their little children. So, they had to ask their neighbor to bring them when it was convenient. That was why they came late.
While telling their story, the aunt gingerly took out a little cloth bag. There was about 1000 renminbi inside.
“Is the money enough?” she asked the doctor.
Luckily, the doctor gave them an affirmative response. The newly started ORBIS project can provide subsided surgery for poor patients like him. Considering the old couple had no family member helping them, the nurses helped them complete the admission and arrange their accommodations. The surgery and accommodations would be funded by the Orbis subsidization fund.
Since it was complicated and the patient was old, the hospital invited an experienced surgeon, Dr Sun Libin from Heilongjiang Provincial Eye Hospital, to perform the surgery. The surgery was successfully completed.
The man opened his eyes as those surrounding him expectantly watched. He looked around at the people in the room, then cried emotionally and said, “Old girl, I can see! I never thought I would see you again in my lifetime! I can finally see after these years. I’m so lucky and grateful to have all your help.”
His wife, too excited to say anything, smiled and wept. She even wanted to kneel before the doctors to express her thanks. They called their children to tell them the good news. The old man was so glad he would be able to see his one-year-old grandson and play with him. Two days later, the old couple left and told the doctors, these were the happiest days of the past few years.
[Learn more about Orbis here.]
Maovember focuses on quirky events for good causes. Our 2022 partner is Library Project, which has furnished thousands of reading rooms in rural schools. Learn more about Maovember here. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.