MrBeast helps 1,000 blind people see again in new video
YouTube superstar MrBeast is making the world clearer — for at least 1,000 people.
The content creator’s latest stunt is paying to remove cataracts for 1,000 people who are blind or near-blind but can’t afford surgery.
“We’re curing thousands of people from blindness,” MrBeast — whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson — said in Saturday’s video, which has racked up more than 32 million views as of Sunday afternoon.
The video features moving footage before and after the patient sees clearly after the surgery is over. The YouTuber also donated cash and other gifts to some of the participants.
Jeff Levenson, ophthalmologist and surgeon, worked with Donaldson to perform the first round of surgery in Jacksonville, Florida. Levenson has coordinated the “Gift of Sight” program for more than 20 years, which provides free cataract surgery to uninsured patients blinded by cataracts.
“Half of the world’s blind are those who need 10-minute surgery,” Levenson says in the video, referring to the cataract removal surgery.
Levenson explained to CNN that he was inspired to help people access cataract surgery after undergoing his own cataract correction surgery.
He said: “In the days and weeks after my own cataract surgery, I was stunned by how bright, beautiful, and vibrant the world was. “But I was shocked to learn that there are hundreds of millions, perhaps 200 million people around the world, who are blind or near-blind due to cataracts and do not have access to surgery.”
Levenson received a call from a member of Donaldson’s team in September. “I’ve never heard of MrBeast,” he said. “So I almost hung up. But I’m grateful I didn’t hang up.”
They started by calling homeless shelters and toll-free clinics to list patients in the Jacksonville area who needed cataract surgery but couldn’t afford it. In the end, they had a team of 40 patients — and Levenson did all of their surgery in one day, starting at 7 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m.
Levenson said that patients “didn’t believe someone would actually come to them to rescue them from blindness, and then had the kindness and generosity of spirit to recommend surgery.”
The ophthalmologist also connected Donaldson’s team with the SEE International organization of which he is medical director. This nonprofit organization provides free eye care around the world to patients in need. The organization helped Donaldson reach even more patients, with a total of 1,000 surgeries completed in about three weeks. The video shows patients undergoing surgery in Jamaica, Honduras, Namibia, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, Vietnam and Kenya.
Levenson said he hopes Donaldson’s video and generosity will inspire “a concerted effort to end unnecessary blindness.”
“If MrBeast can light the fire and if we can get the government and private support behind it, we can end half of the world’s blindness,” he said. “For all those costs, and with the incredible benefits of productivity and human potential.”