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MrBeast pays for surgery so that 1,000 blind people can see

MrBeast Jimmy Donaldson

Fidias, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

MrBeast (Jimmy Donaldson)

Francisco Veneto - published on 02/20/23

The young YouTuber's initiative benefited patients in nine countries and involved dozens of people.

The young successful YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, 24, known as MrBeast, announced to his followers that he paid for the surgery of a thousand blind people so that they could see – some for the first time in their lives.

Those benefiting from the powerful initiative live in countries including the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Jamaica, Honduras, Indonesia, Vietnam, Namibia, and Kenya.

In addition to paying for the surgeries, MrBeast also donated $10,000 to each of the people who underwent the procedure. One of the patients, however, even received $50,000 to help pay for his college studies; another received a new Tesla.

The video in which the influencer recounts the news surpassed 57 million views in just two days.

The surgeries

The joint effort organized by MrBeast involved dozens of people, including ophthalmologist and surgeon Jeff Levenson, known for the “Gift of Sight” program. Through this program, he performs free surgeries for uninsured patients suffering from blindness mainly due to cataracts.

Surgical Eye Expeditions International (SEE International), a non-profit humanitarian organization that provides free ophthalmology services, also participated in the initiative. Dr. Levenson is the medical director of the organization.

In the video about the results of the initiative, the influencer and Dr. Levenson tell the stories of some of the patients and talk about the causes of their blindness, which in most cases were cataracts. A cataract is “a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye” which, when it interferes with everyday activities, requires a surgical intervention to remove it.

There were also other cases, such as a patient with nyctalopia, popularly known as night blindness, which makes a person unable to see in low light.

Dr. Levenson offers impressive information in the video: “Half of all the blindness in the world is people who need a 10-minute surgery.”

Criticism

It has been widelyreported that some online pundits have criticized the video as being exploitative, using charity to get views and likes. Others have praised Donaldson for raising awareness of the widespread problem of treatable blindness left untreated because of the cost of treatment. Everyone agrees that it shouldn’t take a philanthropic YouTuber for people with easily treatable blindness to get the treatment they need, and we hope the debate started by MrBeast’s video will help this issue get the attention it deserves.

Who is MrBeast?

Jimmy Donaldson is one of the most followed and highest-paid YouTubers in the world, with about 131 million subscribers and billions of views across his channel.

MrBeast created the YouTube channel in 2012 when he was just 13 years old. He graduated from Greenville Christian Academy in 2016. He’s considered the pioneer in creating videos of challenges with cash prizes.

Most of the challenges are aimed at entertainment, but there are some whose main purpose is philanthropic; he even has a channel, Beast Philanthropy, dedicated specifically to his charitable initiatives.

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