Cyclists on treasure hunt, raise eye donation awareness

Brookfields/Whitefield-Informer & Shopper (BWIS), a community neighbourhood yellow pages based in Whitefield in partnership with the Rotary Club of IT Corridor, Bangalore and Sahyog, an organisation working on social and legal issues, came together for a cause on a Sunday morning of April 25th. Their messengers were on wheels seeking hidden treasures.

This initiative was a call to pledge your eyes by the Sankara Eye Bank, Sankara Eye Care. The message was clear: Miracles cannot cure the blind. You can, by pledging your eyes.

Bhaskar Rao (second from right), flagging off the event. Pic credit: I-Light studio.

The participants covered a circuit of 20 kms uncovering 19 clues based on people, cultural links, buildings and natural resources native to the areas of Brookefields and Whitefield. They were provided with a map. The event was also supported by Ride A Cycle – Foundation (RAC-F), a non profit organisation that promotes cycling as a sustainable and healthy way of commuting.

The event was flagged off by K Bhaskar Rao, IPS, Commissioner for Transport and Road Safety, Karnataka. Clues were hidden on both sides of the route which  proved challenging to even the most seasoned cyclists.

This concept was the brainchild of  S Ranganathan of BWIS, who has  been associated with numerous such treasure hunt events in Mumbai. His experience made sure that every clue was a notch more challenging than the previous one.

Ravi Ranjan got the  first prize, after cracking all the 19 clues the fastest. He covered 37 kms in 2 hours, 10 minutes. He got the ‘Ticket for Two’ to Bangkok, which was sponsored by Madhulokha, a local liquor store. Siva Sai N was the runner-up.

Ravi Ranjan (left) and Siva Sai N. Pic credit: I-Light Studio.

Prizes were given to the winners of various categories in the event. They were donated by sponsors namely Titan Eye Care, Bisleri (water), Decathlon (cycling merchandize), Chake De (trophies and medallions), KHT Motors (Tata Motors) and many corporate houses.

Dr Sunita Maheshwari, Director, Teleradiology Solutions, Whitefield was the Chief Guest and R K Misra, founder of Sahyog was also present in the event.

Bicycle Treasure hunts can also be adopted  as an entertaining way to discover, explore and promote our culture and its many ‘treasures’.

Background

In a nation such as India, where eye donations are  rare, awareness is the key to encourage people. As many as 2-3 million Indians are corneal blind with 30,000 people being added to this number annually. Half of them can get their sight restored through cornea transplants. But the yawning gap between demand and supply is because of lack of awareness among masses about eye donation and the various myths that revolve around it.

One of them is that the person who donates his or her eyes would be born blind in the next birth. Another view, held widely, is that as God has given this body, it should be returned in the same way to Him. And a third issue is: If God has decided not to give eyes to someone, why should we try to overrule this by helping the blind see! As a result of such beliefs, many of those who have pledged their eyes upon their death are cremated without donating them, as their relatives do not give their concent to it.  

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