National Sight Week is a celebration of volunteerism, during which members of the ASCRS Foundation’s Operation Sight network are encouraged to contribute one or more charitable surgeries in their own communities. During this week would like to thank and acknowledge the entire Operation Sight volunteer network for helping us give the gift of sight to those Americans most in need. As a way of highlighting the work being done by volunteers this week, we will be sharing their experiences with Operation Sight.
From a young age Operation Sight volunteer Katherine Donnithorne, MD at Montgomery Eye Physicians in Montgomery, Alabama has always felt the need to serve people. From teaching and volunteering abroad as an undergraduate student to volunteering in inner city free clinics as a medical student.
After volunteering in an orphanage in Bolivia, Dr. Donnithorne decided her calling was to go into medicine. When she returned to the States, she applied to the post-baccalaureate pre-medicine program at Bryn Mawr College and later attended medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
While in medical school Dr. Donnithorne organized medical student groups to volunteer at an inner-city free clinic and also served on medical missions team in Peru, Ecuador, and Kenya. As Dr. Donnithorne explains “I chose ophthalmology because of the way that I can use my surgical and medical ophthalmological skills to restore vision for patients both in the US and abroad.”
While attending the ASCRS Annual Meeting, Dr. Donnithorne became aware of the ASCRS Foundation’s Operation Sight program when her colleague and fellow Operation Sight volunteer John Swan, MD, explained his involvement in the program. This spurred Dr. Donnithorne to register herself. “I feel that volunteering through Operation Sight is a way that I can help people in the US who don’t have access to medical care due to lack of financial resources. I want to help restore vision and provide excellent care for people who might not have access to surgery otherwise.”
As a new volunteer Dr. Donnithorne has already made an enormous impact in the lives of Operation Sight patients. “One patient told me that she hadn’t been able to see for years, and thought there was no hope. She thanked me and gave me hugs following the surgery. It was amazing to see how cataract surgery helped restore both vision and confidence in this patient.”
Dr. Donnithorne’s advice to other ophthalmologists who may be interested? “Volunteer! The ASCRS Foundation provides all the information you’ll need to get started. The patients you will serve will be so grateful, and you will find increased fulfillment professionally through service to others. It is also a great way to help the underserved without having to take a trip.”
We thank Dr. Donnithorne for being an Operation Sight volunteer. Don’t forget to follow the ASCRS Foundation Twitter account for updates on National Sight Week. Interested in volunteering and learning more? Visit ascrsfoundation.org/osvolunteer or contact Evelyn Morales at email@example.com