LVPEI’s ‘WHITATHON’ Run raises funds for childhood eye cancer

Annual charity running event gathers community support to combat Retinoblastoma, emphasizing early detection and treatment

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New Delhi: The sixth edition of the ‘WHITATHON’ Run, organized by the L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), took place with the aim of raising awareness about Retinoblastoma, a form of eye cancer in children, and generating funds for its treatment. 
Speaking at the event, Dr. Vineeth. G stated, “Heartening to see the huge participation in support of a noble cause of aiding patients of Retinoblastoma and the run is aptly called Whitathon. The money raised through this helps to render free treatment for patients who can’t afford the treatment cost.”
Dr. Swathi Kaliki, Head of Operation Eyesight Universal Institute for Eye Cancer at LVPEI, stressed, “The white reflex seen in the eyes of the children can be a sign of eye cancer and any child with such reflex should be taken for an eye screening immediately. The forming of a tumour in the retina leads to this white reflex. Detecting retinoblastoma in the early stages is critical, as it aids in preserving the sight, and the eye and saving the life. Retinoblastoma can be hereditary, therefore the next generation in the family should also get screened for it. Over 2200 participants are supporting this run.”
Dr. Vijay Anand Reddy, Director of Apollo Cancer Hospital, underscored the urgency, “Eye cancer or retinoblastoma is a phenomenon seen in just-born to six-year-old children. It is essential to detect this early and seek immediate treatment, as over 90% of the patients with this disease can be cured.”
Flagged off by Dr. Vineeth. G, IPS, Deputy Commissioner of Police – Madhapur Zone, the run attracted over 2000 participants, reflecting strong community support for the cause. Funds raised from the event are directed towards providing free treatment to underprivileged children affected by Retinoblastoma and supporting ongoing research initiatives.
The success of Whitathon was made possible by the generous support of sponsors, volunteers, and the community. Diamond sponsors included Alcon Laboratories (India) Pvt Ltd, while gold sponsors included National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) Ltd and GTN Industries Ltd. Silver and bronze sponsors, along with supporters, contributed significantly to the event’s success.
Held at the University of Hyderabad, Gachibowli, on May 19, the event marked the World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week, observed annually to educate the public about the importance of early detection. Winners in various categories were recognized for their participation and support in advancing the cause.