A constable’s determination to help the blind has convinced 800 people to donate their eyes in just four days. Between June 8 and June 12, constable Ravindra Patil (48) organised a four-day eye donation camp, in course of which he convinced 800 people from across the city to pledge their eyes.
Patil’s NGO TEARS has arranged for eye donation camps at events like Dahi Handi, Ganeshotsav and even weddings, where people have readily pledged to become eye donors. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi
The cop, who is attached to the Deonar police station in the city’s eastern region, and is presently posted with the director general’s office at Colaba, has, till date, motivated around 16,000 people to fill up forms to donate their eyes after death.
In his eye donation camps, Patil helps people sign up as donors and gives them pledge cards
Patil started doing social work in his college days, when he was pursuing a BCom from GSPM College in Ghatkopar. Not only would Patil contribute money from his own pocket to a clutch of causes, but he would also carry a piggy bank around the college premises whenever there was a flood or natural disaster, and urge people to contribute towards relief.
Patil joined the Mumbai Police’s force in 2000, but his professional life did not hamper his social work. With two friends Ramakant Mhatre, who works in a private company in Panvel, and Sanjay Kamble, who works in a school as a peon in Raigad he started an NGO called TEARS.
“T stands for teaching, E stands for education, A stands for all, R stands for reliable and S denotes for social work,” explains Patil. He has managed to convince several police officers, including the Deputy Commissioner of Police Shrikant Pathak, Deputy Superintendent Tambe and several constables to pledge to donate their eyes.
“He is doing good work in the field that nobody pays attention to. There are around 80 lakh people who die in the country every year, but hardly 5,000 to 6,000 of them donate their eyes. On the other hand, about 30,000 go blind in the country every year,” said Dr Tatyarao Lahane, dean of J J Hospital.
Patil celebrated his last birthday by filling up 200 forms for eye donation. His wife, his mother and father also signed up for the cause. “I always wanted to do something for the blind. Everyone will die some day, and their organs could be useful for the people who are living and need them,” said Patil.
Patil, along with his friends, arranges eye donation camps, where he fills forms and gives people their pledge cards. The three friends have arranged for eye donation camps at occasions like Dahi Handi, Ganeshotsav and even weddings, where people have readily come forward to donate their eyes.
“Our aim is to rope in family members of donors, so that if one person dies, another member in the family can immediately inform the eye bank about the death, and the nearest bank can collect the eyes of the deceased,” said Mhatre, who works with Patil at the NGO.
Other policemen have also rewarded Patil for his work, and shown solidarity. Several colleagues have filled up eye donation forms and some have given money to his NGO. Shrikant Pathak, who is the deputy commissioner of police, Navi Mumbai Crime Branch, recently pledged his eyes through TEARS. “Patil is doing great work and I, along with several of my staffers, have become an eye donor. I always have the pledge card with me,” said Pathak.
Patil’s father worked with the MTNL, and used to stay in Ghatkopar just near the railway station. “I used to see several blind beggars, and used to wonder how they reached home at night,” reminisced Patil. Dr Prakash Katakia, ex-chairman of Arpan Eye bank, said, “I met Patil when he used to bring forms of eye donors to us. He is doing a great job managing two roles one as a policemen and other as a social worker.”
Did you know?
June 10 was World Eye Donation Day