Baby Chi’s Story

Baby Chi

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Chi is a survivor – winning the battle against cancer, after a life-threatening Retinoblastoma tumour formed in her eye. 

Retinoblastoma occurs when abnormal cells in the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye grow in an uncontrolled way. It usually occurs in young children, often at a critical stage of their development, and can affect one or both eyes. 

Baby Chi’s mother, Pham Minh Hiep, was powerless. Something as simple as where she lived, far from specialised help, could determine whether she’d see her daughter grow up.

To address issues like this, Sight For All has been actively involved in the training of paediatric ophthalmologists at the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology in Hanoi, including Chi’s doctor, Pham Minh Chau, so that they can treat a range of blinding and even deadly childhood eye diseases.

Diagnostic equipment and surgical instruments provided by Sight For All, in addition to the training, allow local doctors like Chau, to continue treating children just like Chi, giving them the best chance at life.

Sight For All has been instrumental in training paediatric ophthalmologists in the treatment of this deadly eye disease.
Ocular Oncology refers to the diagnosis and treatment of a range of eye cancers that occur in children and adults.

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Unfortunately, after 12 months of failed chemotherapy treatment, Dr Chau, Chi’s mother and myself decided that it would be best to remove Chi’s damaged eye. No mother ever wants to make that decision, however in the end, it was this procedure that ultimately saved her life. 

But Chi’s story could have ended very differently, which is what makes your support of Sight For All vital to help thousands more children’s sight and lives.

With 1.4 million children visually impaired in the world, we cannot stop.

Photo of Dr Chau from Vietnam
Paediatric Ophthalmologist from Vietnam, Dr Chau was trained by Sight For All and is now treating thousands of patients in Vietnam.

Dr Pham Minh Chau

What’s more heartbreaking is four out of every five cases of vision impairment and blindness in the world are avoidable, however 90% live in developing countries where treatment isn’t easily accessible or affordable. 

Vision impairment and blindness in developing countries is much more than not being able to see. It can also have lasting effects on education and employment opportunities, often leading to a life of poverty, and sometimes early death.

Children learn through their eyes, observing and imitating the people in their lives. Vision impairment and blindness can lead to problems with cognitive development, as eyesight and learning are strongly linked. 

At Sight For All, our goal is crystal clear…create a world where everyone can see.

With our sustainable and collaborative ‘teach a man to fish’ approach, we empower local eye specialists in our partner countries with long term solutions.

We focus on filling the gaps in eye health care through:

  • Collaborative research: Identifying and prioritising areas of need for developing countries.
  • Infrastructure support: Establishing or upgrading equipment and facilities at training and regional eye centres.
  • Sustainable education: Coordinating educational programs in developing countries and providing opportunities where doctors travel to Australia for intensive, year-long training fellowships.
  • Eye health awareness: Informing communities of the importance of eye health and the ophthalmic services that are available.

More than 120 ophthalmologists, optometrists, orthoptists, ophthalmic nurses and scientists collectively donate up to 10,000 hours of expertise each year to Sight For All’s projects. Together, our work is improving the lives of half a million people every year.

This Christmas you can give a child the gift of sight. Like little Chi, you’ll see the impact support creates. 

Donate today

Photos provided by Lara Damiani.

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