“Monika knows about her heart condition. She understands there is a reason why she cannot stand or walk for long, or go to school like ‘normal’ children. But that doesn’t stop her from dreaming big. She aims to be a doctor one day so that she can help people, especially children overcome serious illnesses- after all, she knows exactly what they go through.”-Prakash, father of 13-year-old Monika.
Severe breathlessness has plagued this poor girl since she was a babyRight after Monika was born, her mother, Kavita, noticed that she had trouble suckling milk. Kavita did not take it very seriously at first, but when her baby’s lips, legs and feet started turning blue, she knew something was not right. Tests showed that the baby girl was suffering from Pulmonary Artery Stenosis, a narrowing of the main valve that sends oxygen-poor blood to the lungs for oxygenation. The narrowing makes it difficult for the ‘bad’ blood to reach the lungs, leading to dangerously low levels of oxygen in the body.
“She would choke every time she tried to feed. As a result of her breathlessness, she had become severely underweight too – she weighed only a little over 2 kg at 6 months.”-Kavita, mother.
Despite undergoing two surgeries in the past, her heart still lets her down when she tries to do basic activitiesRight after she was diagnosed, Monika underwent an emergency surgery in a private hospital in her hometown, Delhi. Her worried parents, Prakash and Kavita, believed that this would put an end to their baby’s breathing problem once and for all. However, what happened was the opposite. Her health started deteriorating over the years, as a result of which she was not allowed to do even daily activities that other children of her age did – like running or jumping – as it would make her run out of breath completely. But her parents still put her in a school when she was 5-years-old, but soon had to pull her out as she would always end up missing classes due to frequent fainting. Monika even had to undergo a second surgery two years ago, but that did not help improve her condition. Now, her heart is almost giving up on her and without another surgery in a few days, she will not survive.
“Her suffering is more pronounced during the winters. Delhi winters are infamous because of the pollution too – in Monika’s case the effects are devastating. Her heart beats more rapidly – I can feel the loud thumping when I place my hand over her chest. She ends up almost suffocating and collapsing from exhaustion on really bad days. Being poor, we cannot even take her to another city where the winters are less harsh.”-Prakash, father.
Being a poor street vendor, Prakash cannot afford to save his daughter before it is too latePrakash makes a living by selling children’s undergarments on streets in Delhi. On good days, he earns around Rs 200, which is hardly enough to feed and clothe his wife and two children. Due to Monika’s persistent illness, he has always had to spend the bulk of his salary on her medical expenses. He was somehow able to afford her previous surgeries by borrowing money from his relatives, but this time he is completely out of help.
“My daughter is ambitious and has big plans, but I just want one simple thing – I want to see my daughter alive. I want nothing else than that. Is it too much for a poor father to ask?”-Prakash, with tears in his eyes.
How you can help13-year-old Monika is suffering from a severe heart disease that has never let her go to school in all these years. Despite undergoing two surgeries, she is still suffering from severe breathlessness and weakness. Without an urgent surgery, she will not be able to survive, let alone realize her dreams of becoming a doctor.
Your kind contribution can help Monika live a normal life