Flowers, cake and gifts aren’t everybody’s idea of making their loved one’s birthday special. In an unconventional gesture, a man surprised his spouse on her 60th birthday by sponsoring cataract operations and lenses for 601 Mumbaikars. While 157 operations were carried out over the last three weeks, the remainder are scheduled for the coming days.
“I don’t like giving donations to temples, but prefer something like this. I am proud that my husband has given me such a beautiful surprise,” said Aruna, Narendra Hate’s wife.
The family has also decided to sponsor cataract lenses for 600 patients every year along with spectacles. It has promised to donate a vehicle equipped with the latest surgical instruments needed to perform eye surgeries. The vehicle will go to remote areas to help patients.
Dr TP Lahane, dean of Sir JJ Group of Hospitals, said, “We love our wives; but Narendra Hate has done something different, which has not only made her proud, but also benefitted society at large.
The Hate family has set an example for others and is an inspiration to us.”
One of the many patients who benefited from Hate’s generosity is Mohammed Sayyed, a 10-year-old from Chembur.
“He couldn’t see objects even from a 5-cm distance because of the matured cataract in both his eyes. He had congenital cataract which affected his vision, making it difficult for him to continue studies. With the surgery, he is appearing for his Std IV exams without hindrance,” his father Riyaz Sayyed said. Both father and son were at JJ Hospital’s ophthalmology department on Monday morning to thank the Hates and celebrate with the hundreds of other patients.
Dr Ragini Parekh, head of the department of ophthalmology, JJ Hospital, said, “Under the central government’s National Programme for Control of Blindness, the government is sponsoring free rigid intraocular lenses for cataract surgery. Phacoemulsification is the future but the lens it uses the foldable type is expensive, so the government has not opted for it though it might do so at a later stage.” The rigid lens comes for Rs200 a piece while the foldable lenses the kind sponsored by Hate cost Rs1,250. Dr Parekh said that with people like the Hates coming forward, poor patients can go for this advanced procedure.