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Indian woman suicides to donate corneas to blind sons

AFP | March 20, 2005

MADRAS, India (AFP) - A 36-year-old Indian woman suicided allowing her to donate her corneas to two near-blind sons.

S.Thamizhchelvi was found hanging by her husband in their southern Indian home in Madras, her husband P.Shankar said Sunday. No suicide note was found.

"Many years ago, we registered ourselves at the Sankara Nethralaya hospital (in Madras) as eye donors with a request that when one of us dies, one cornea each should be grafted to our two sons," he said.

This would allow each of the children, 17-year-old Kumaran and 15-year-old Mohan Kumar, to receive sight in at least one eye.

"But I could not have imagined she would have killed herself to give her sight to the boys," Shankar added.

However, doctors at the Sankar Nethralaya said they doubted whether the transplant would be successful as the corneas may not have been recovered quickly enough due to legal complications arising from her death.

Both brothers were good students, but their mother was depressed at seeing them having to struggle in their daily chores.

"It is going to be even darker for us from now on. But we will not despair as we will strive even harder to fulfill our mother's wish that we study well," Kumaran said.

Police said the misguided act might have been inspired by Bollywood films which have depicted the sacrifice of life to save others.

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