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Fans following Raj Kumar's footsteps, pledging eyes
Apr 25, 2007 - 8:16:48 PM

Bangalore, April 25 - Legendary Kannada actor Raj Kumar has made a major posthumous contribution to the cause of voluntary eye donations in Karnataka.

The first death anniversary of Raj Kumar April 12 was observed on a massive scale across the state, followed by a similar statewide celebration of his 79th birth anniversary on April 24.

Eye donations were an important part of the charitable activities performed by the thespian's fans and well-wishers.

'Before the death of the star, we used to have about 50 people signing the eye donation pledge per year in the Nethralaya -. But in the last one year, the number has increased by over 400 percent. Over 240 people have agreed to donate their eyes during this period,' said Bhujanga Shetty, chief executive officer of the Narayana Nethralaya and the Rajkumar Eye Bank here.

Recalling Raj Kumar's decision to donate his eyes, Shetty said: 'I personally conducted the operation to remove his eyes and the donation gave vision to two people. The operation and the outcome received wide media publicity. After that, we received a lot of enquiries about the eye donation pledge. In the past one year, over 1,000 people in Karnataka have been benefited by eye transplantations.'

Shetty also added that the awareness has made the eye bank's job easier.

'Earlier, eye transplantations were done after a long time because eyes were not available at the time of request. The patients had to wait even in our super-speciality hospital. But now the situation has been changed. We are doing eye transplantations as soon as they become necessary because we have a sufficient stock of eyes, thanks to Raj Kumar's inspiring example.'

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