"Poverty had my sister dying in pain all these years, and it may even kill her if we cannot afford this surgery."
18-year-old Anima from a small village called Denapur, West Bengal, has been having chest pains for over nine years. She was diagnosed with a rare and severe cardiac condition as a result of a birth defect, and needs corrective surgery to save her life. Anima's family has not been able to afford the surgery all these years because of their socioeconomic background. Her critical condition has made it imperative to have her admitted and opt for the surgery at the earliest.
A lifetime of pain
Anima was 9 years old when she was diagnosed. She was extremely active in school and loved participating in sports. Once, while participating in an event, she fainted. The family rushed her to the hospital. Soon, she was diagnosed with a heart condition known as CHD D/TGA (transposition of the greater arteries), Severe Left AV Valve (causing regurgitation), Mild Systemic Valve Dysfunction. She was advised to opt for surgery, but this family could not afford the treatment option at the time. Anima had been managing her condition on medication since then.
Anima’s brother Jeyanthu cannot remember a day when she has not been in pain. For nearly a decade of her life, Anima bore the symptoms of her condition as her family came from an extremely weak economic background, and they simply could not even afford to pay consultation fees if they had to visit the hospital several times. Recently, she began screaming, “I can’t take it anymore, please do something. I can’t live like this anymore.” Her chest pain and breathlessness had become unbearable. They immediately rushed her to a doctor in Calcutta who impressed upon the importance of surgery for her condition.
Down to the last penny
Determined to find a way to help their daughter, Anima’s parents followed a relative’s advice and made it to Bangalore. They consulted a doctor at Manipal Hospital who went over her records, and immediately advised that she get admitted for a Left Aortic Valve Repair/Replacement with or without PPI.
“We sold our only asset, an agricultural land, at Rs. 50,000. Our entire village got together and raised about Rs. 1,00,000. This is how we made it to Bangalore.”
Anima’s parents are farmers from Denapur, Howrah, who have seasonal income which is hardly enough to support their expenses. Her brother Jeyanthu takes tuition at home and earns Rs. 3500/month. She also has an elder sister who is married. Anima is recently married to a daily wage laborer who hardly makes Rs. 4000/month to support a family of four that includes his ailing parents. Currently, she is with her parents, and her brother is doing all that he can to pool funds for her surgery.
How can you help?
“We have nothing. When we go to the hospital and they ask us for something, I beg them to show mercy for her because we are helpless. Her medicines cost Rs. 200 or Rs. 300 a day, which we have been managing to pay with the money we have brought, but this surgery, we don’t know how we can afford.”
Anima may have to go through two procedures, one for a valve repair/replacement, and after she recovers, a replacement/pulmonary implant. Her family has arranged Rs. 1,50,000 for her treatment while the surgery is estimated at Rs. 6,60,000 including the implant.
This 18-year-old girl has lived most of her life in pain for the sake of her family. The family has sold everything they possessed and are now knee deep in debt for the sake of their child.
Your contribution will mean so much more than saving Anima’s life. It will end a family’s suffering altogether.