During the pandemic, KnowTheGlow (KTG) jumped in feet first launching targeted digital social campaigns internationally, bringing its mission of building awareness to help in detecting early childhood blindness to countries around the world.
As Emily Dickinson once said “Forever is composed of NOWS” and with COVID-19 isolating our most vulnerable communities around the world, spreading awareness of the Glow and empowering parents, families and healthcare workers to see the early signs of what could be reversible childhood blindness or retinoblastoma was of the utmost importance to KTG. It was the next logical step for KTG to join the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and to bring their enthusiasm and innovative messaging to the IAPB community.
After her son, Benjamin was diagnosed with Coats’ Disease in 2009, Megan Webber was shocked to learn that the Glow she was finding in flash photographs of her son was the only warning sign she had of the disease that was threatening Benjamin’s vision.
Knowing that most parents, like herself, were not aware of the risk factors associated with The Glow or the simple steps to take to safeguard their child’s eye health, she knew she had to take action. Learning that the Glow can indicate more than 20 different sight threatening conditions and that children age 0-5 are underscreened the world over, she, together with a team of family, friends, and other advocates, launched Know the Glow as an awareness campaign aimed ultimately at eliminating preventable glow-related childhood blindness worldwide.
Now, years later, Know The Glow has been able to impact and engage with thousands of families all around the world, sharing the brave stories of parents who have discovered ‘the Glow’ in their children and found their way to care. KTG has highlighted the amazing doctors, NGOs, and health care workers who have helped diagnose and treat these families and who continue to identify ways to make the path to care shorter and straighter for tomorrow’s children. It has been through sharing awareness about leukocoria, the Glow, and the work surrounding its proper detection, that Know The Glow has been able to reach far and wide, spreading awareness every step of the way.
The GLOWbal Movement
KTG has learned these past few years just how fragile the healthcare system is even in developed countries and how difficult it can be to access care – one can only imagine what families and children in developing countries have needed to endure during this time.
Even more worrisome, is the fact that with COVID being such a concern in communities worldwide, routine health care checkups have often been dismissed or overlooked as families have shied away from medical appointments during the global pandemic.
Unfortunately, children are the ones who suffer the consequences of missed diagnoses. Why? Because what many don’t realize is that, if identified early, so many childhood eye diseases that cause blindness are PREVENTABLE and nearly all are far more treatable if identified early!
The KTG Mission
KnowTheGlow’s mission is to spread awareness far and wide, to parents, families, health care workers, and medical students so that these eye diseases can be diagnosed early enough to prevent and ultimately eliminate glow-related childhood blindness.
KTG also looks to highlight the journeys of the amazing families, doctors, and NGOs working in the countries they are targeting with awareness. With the world learning to embrace video conferencing and telemedicine and certainly learning how to share informative messaging through social media, KTG has been able to make direct and meaningful connections, sharing awareness all over the world.
As KTG moved into digital global outreach more intentionally in 2021, they have already achieved amazing goals reaching families around the world with their internationally translated campaigns:
- Venezuela: Launched August 2021, has registered over 5 million impressions
- Vietnam: Launched in September 2021, registered over 3 million impressions
- India: Launched in October 2021, has registered over 5 million impressions
- Bangladesh: Launched in November 2021, has achieved 4.5 million impressions
They can’t wait to get started with additional campaigns and collaborative advocacy with other universities, NGOs, and IAPB members where they hope to reach more families worldwide with Glow awareness and early intervention to save the sight of those children who don’t yet know they need to be found!