After ABC’s “World News” reported Wednesday on a doctor’s efforts to aid many in Africa, he’s been flooded with donations from viewers all over who want to share the privilege of sight to millions who live in a world of darkness.
Within the first 24 hours alone, $139,186 was donated after ABC News’ report, according to the Himalayan Cataract Project, which would allow 12,653 lenses for patients with cataract blindness.
“Thank you so much to all the viewers. Your donations mean thousands more surgeries will now be possible,” said Job Heintz, of the Himalayan Cataract Project. “Patients will receive sight restoring surgery thanks to your story.”
After being in an operation room in Mekelle, Ethiopia for three days as Dr. Geoffrey Tabin, the director of the division of international ophthalmology at the John A. Moran Eye Center, David Muir helped cure patients there of cataract blindness.
This surgery, priced at a mere $11, takes only seven minutes to complete.
Before putting a new lens in, the doctor makes a quick incision, then removes the cataract in once piece.
Parents were now able to see their children and children who were unable to go to school, were given their sight back.
Tabin was joined by ABC News on a trip of 8,000 miles from his home in Park City, Utah, to Ethiopia, owning the highest rates of blindness around the world.
Upon ABC News’ arrival at the Quiha Zonal Hospital in the remoted city of Mekelle, Ethiopia, there awaited a few hundreds of patients already waiting for Tabin.
The patient’s journey to Mekelle was compared to a pilgrimage. They came from all over, including cities, villages, and small farming communities throughout Ethiopia after hearing of the doctor’s near arrival.
Many of these patients had traveled for days for a chance at experiencing this medical miracle. It wasn’t easy, but they found a way to make it happen.
Being an epidemic in Ethiopia, doctors refer to poverty, malnutrition, genetics and the burning sun as reasons for cataract blindness.
Tabin saw the power in this movement as patients awaited their turn in line.
“It’s daunting, but also exciting. You know, when I’m operating, every single eye is a life,” Tabin said.