It’s great being a grandfather, or in my case, a Papa. My wife Margot (known to the little ones as Nana) and I have four grandchildren – two girls and two boys – three of whom are pre-school age. These kids are all bright, creative, funny and full of life – the apples of my eye. I can’t imagine losing them or seeing them lose any of their potential.
If you are a grandparent, you know what I’m talking about. We try to help our grown children to be good parents, supporting them and the little ones as best we can. Mostly, grandparents have all the fun.
What’s not fun is when tragedy occurs. That’s when Papa and Nana want to come to the rescue. But sometimes, we’re helpless.
Through my work at Operation Eyesight, I have visited our programs in India and Africa a few times, and I’ve seen many children in the hospitals and eye clinics.
Imagine being a parent or a grandparent, and seeing a child lose an eye from an accident, or lose all their vision from disease or disability. Imagine being helpless to do anything about it. Remember that in many parts of the world, blindness is not a disability, it’s a death sentence. Blind children often die before the age of five.
With Grandparents Day coming up on September 9, I’m reminded of the fact that around the world, a child goes blind every minute. While the child suffers, their parents and grandparents agonize over finding a solution. The fortunate ones are those who have an eye clinic close at hand – one that can offer good treatment at low cost or for free. That is, of course, where Operation Eyesight comes in, thanks to the donors who made that free treatment possible. The children I saw in our clinics and hospitals were the lucky ones.
In one of India’s urban slums, I remember meeting a family with a blind girl. She was not so fortunate. She probably didn’t get the help she needed as a young child and will spend her life doing menial tasks, always relying on her family.
But thanks to our donors, Operation Eyesight is building eye care capacity where it is needed most. With your help, the day will come when even the poorest people will get the help they need. What you’re doing is actually taking away the fear of blindness from those parents and grandparents. What a gift!
You can make such a gift today. Consider sending an e-card on Grandparents Day, September 9. You can say thanks to a wonderful Nana or Papa in your life, while at the same time helping people of all ages in India and Africa.