" I always dreamt of serving in the Indian Army. Vikram Batra Sir ("Shershah") has been my hero and role model since childhood. I never thought of becoming anything else but an army man. I even cleared the written entrance for it and was preparing for the next round of physical examination, when this...happened. Within a few minutes, my entire life's focus was gone" - Amit Kumar, narrates dejectedly
For Amit, life was all about following dreams and passionAmit was the most sincere and hard-working among all the siblings. He was sorted from the very beginning about what he wanted to do in his life. He grew up listening to the epic stories of the bravery and courage of soldiers during the Kargil War. Param Vir Chakra recipient Capt. Vikram Batra was his hero and he worked day and night so that he could emulate him someday. He studied hard and cleared the written part of the entrance exam required for joining the Indian Army. Since he was good in Athletics, especially running, he was confident of clearing the practical part of the entrance as well and practiced diligently for it.
" I used to get up at 5 am every day and run for 10 km, trying to improve each day, taking nothing for granted. My friends and coach used to say that even if don't get selected for Indian Army, I will definitely represent the country one day in the Olympics in Athletics. I used to feel very happy and content with such appreciation. Who knew, that an evil eye would be cast on my dreams, and everything would abruptly come to a painful end" - Amit Kumar, sobs while giving a vacant stare.
One unfortunate day, his life changed foreverIt was like any other winter day in January 2021, when Amit woke up and left for his daily run. Little did he know that his life was about to change drastically in a matter of minutes. While he was running, he saw a wire lying on the sidewalk where he used to run. He stopped and bent to pick it up and push it to the side. But, to his misfortune, it was a high-voltage wire carrying 11,000 Volts of electricity. He immediately got stuck to it and in an effort to separate himself, he used his other hand, which also ended up getting stuck. He was in excruciating pain and cried for help.
" My friends used to go with me to record my running time and record videos of me. They saw me stuck to the wire and immediately came to my rescue and separated me from the wire. I was rushed to a hospital, which referred me to another hospital as they did not have facilities to manage burn victims. There they applied dressings to my burnt hands. I hoped this nightmare would somehow pass. But, my condition worsened and I was taken to Mumbai, where the doctors told us something that shook me to the core." - Amit Kumar, explains with fear in his eyes.
The treatment that could save his life would kill his dreamsThe doctors in Mumbai told them that an urgent amputation of both his hands below the elbow was needed to stop the poison of dying tissues from spreading in the entire body and killing him. This was an impossible decision for Amit to make. Losing his hands would mean an end to his dreams of ever donning an army uniform. But, it was a necessary life-saving procedure and hence was performed.
" I did not have the courage to meet him after the amputation was done. He kept telling me to not get it done. But, how could I let my son die? I am his mother. Though, his life was saved, deep down we were not sure what part of him was left alive. For someone whose dreams meant everything to him, it was going to be extremely difficult to hold onto something and live his life again." - Maya Devi, mother, sobs while narrating.
The cost of a hand transplant is beyond affordability for themAmit was depressed after the amputation, but the doctors told them that it was possible for him to regain some functions after a hand transplant. Though not the same as the original, but still, it gave him some hope to latch onto. The doctors gave them an estimate of INR 25 lakhs for the entire procedure, which was exclusive of the additional INR 2.5 lakhs that would be needed every year after surgery for the maintenance of the function of the transplanted hand.
" I am a farm labourer and earn barely enough to feed my entire family. INR 8-9 lakhs have already been spent on his treatment for which we sold all our farmland and jewelry. We also had to take loans from our relatives. But this huge sum of money is impossible for me to arrange. My wife also needs surgery for her heart condition but we cannot afford that as well. I feel helpless and burdened with guilt that I may not be able to give my son an opportunity to fulfill his dreams for which he had worked so hard." - Vikas Kumar, Father, tears up while explaining.
He may have lost his hands but he definitely did not lose his fighting spiritDespite all the adversities, Amit Kumar hopes to make it to the Indian Paralympic team in Athletics through his grit and determination. He watches videos on his mobile phone related to his sport to sharpen his skills. He tries to keep himself active by doing as many of his chores on his own. He wishes to celebrate festivals like Chatth Puja like everyone else, and hopes his sister will tie a rakhi on his hands again someday.
"My son is very brave. He refuses to let me feed him, but I do it as I can't watch him struggle so much to just eat. I am sure that if given a chance he will overcome all difficulties and make us and the country proud someday. I am hopeful that his willpower to succeed will pave the way for this transplant as well." - Maya Devi, the mother with a glimmer of hope in her eyes.
Don't let this champion lose hopeHis family cannot afford the cost of hand transplantation. Open your heart for the cause of this young aspiring paralympic athlete to donate generously and spread the word for the same far and wide.
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