Saskatoon

Blind Saskatoon yoga instructor looking to regain sight through stem cell treatment

A Saskatoon yoga instructor who will travel to Thailand for stem cell treatment to restore his lost sight says it's a struggle for him to receive the support and money that's been raised on his behalf to cover his expenses.

$10K raised in 10 days for Kevin Naidoo's treatment in Thailand in April

Saskatoon yoga instructor Kevin Naidoo. (Matthew Garand/CBC)

A Saskatoon yoga instructor who will travel to Thailand for stem cell treatment to restore his lost sight says it's a struggle for him to receive the support and money that's been raised on his behalf to cover his expenses.

"I'm forever grateful," said Kevin Naidoo of the support and almost $10,000 that has been raised for him on a GoFundMe web page set up by his partner, Andrea Kehler.

"It really means the world to me. It's hard for me to receive, and I have been learning to deal with it."

Kehler said the quick response indicates Naidoo's impact on the community. 

"I think there's a lot of people out there waiting to just offer something back to him after he's helped them so much. So it's been wonderful just to watch that exchange happen," she said. 

Despite losing his vision entirely in his left eye and losing his peripheral vision in his right eye, Naidoo called his work to regain his vision "an adventure."

The 39-year-old teaches yoga across Canada and also has a Saskatoon yoga studio that overlooks the city's downtown area. In 2014, he was diagnosed with open angular glaucoma, which has reduced his vision to "pretty much 50 per cent of my right eye," he said.

Naidoo continues to find peace and understanding through meditation and yoga. (Photo courtesy Facebook)

As part of his efforts to regain his sight, Naidoo and his Kehler began looking into stem cell research and eventually found a company in China that produces stem cells for treating cases of glaucoma like Naidoo's.

The actual treatment and procedure takes place in Bangkok, Thailand. Naidoo has been accepted as a candidate for the procedure, which will happen from April 7-22.

The cost for the treatment is $30,000, according to Kehler and stem cell treatments aren't covered in Canada.

To help cover the costs of the treatment, his flights and his studio fees, Kehler started a GoFundMe page for Naidoo, a campaign that's raised $9,631 in 10 days.

Kevin Naidoo teaches at and runs the Yerrama Yoga Sanctuary in Saskatoon. (Eric Anderson/CBC)

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