“My parents wanted me to be the first graduate in the family. The state we are in, they always knew that education would get us to a better place.”
21-year-old Gokulapriyan comes from an extremely downtrodden family which has hung around hospitals for the most part of the past two decades. Although he was diagnosed at infancy, Gokulapriyan’s rare congenital heart defect has gotten extremely critical and he needs a heart transplant to stay alive.
Born with a hole in the heart
Originally from Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu, Gokulapriyan is a B.Tech graduate. His father, Subramanian is a bus driver, and mother, Vijayalakshmi is a homemaker. He has a 13-year-old sister, Divya Keerthi. Both siblings were diagnosed with the same congenital defect at infancy. They have Familial Atrioventricular Node Conduction Defect and Atrial Septal Defect of the Secundum Type. They were born with a hole in the heart and low pumping efficiency. Divya Keerthi was treated for the condition with a corrective surgery and a pacemaker. However, oxygen deprivation affected her brain, leaving her mentally retarded.
Gokulapriyan also had surgical closure of the hole, and a valve repair after which his health began to improve. “There was a leakage in the valve, and we did not know about it. He was taking medicines to manage his condition after surgery. We thought everything was fine until he was in 3rd year B.Com. Suddenly he started having severe diarrhea. He could not digest anything properly. We took him to the doctor. They ran tests again. They suspected it could be the heart condition. We immediately went to Madras Medical Mission.”
Carving a bigger hole in their lives
The Echo results showed that Gokulapriyan’s heart had deteriorated over the years. His tricuspid valve was leaking severely and the medicines had not helped. He was immediately implanted with a dual chamber pacemaker (Boston Advantio) for a complete heart block.
Now, his condition is getting worse by the day with pumping capacity at 10%. “He is giddy all the time, and sometimes faints. He is not able to eat anything. He does not even sit up. He was dreaming of finishing college and going to work, and now it tears my heart to see my son struggling to survive every day.” Doctors at MMM have re-evaluated him and recommended heart transplant surgery as a treatment option. Since Gokulapriyan’s condition is critical, he needs this surgery at the earliest.
“Ever since they were born we have spent more time at clinics and hospitals. Hope always seems out of our reach. My husband keeps working hard at his job to earn more so we can have them cured. He yearns to hear our daughter talk. She hardly knows what is going on around her. We spent most of our money on her treatment. Our earnings and savings have gone into keeping them alive, and even then, our son seems to be slipping away!” cries Vijayalakshmi.
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The family has spent over Rs. 15 lakhs to treat both siblings. They are unable to incur the expenses for this unprecedented medical crisis on Subramanian’s salary of Rs. 12,000/month. They have discharged Gokulapriyan from the hospital until they can arrange funds for the surgery.
Gokulapriyan’s dream of pursuing a Master’s degree has now come to a standstill as survival has taken priority. The cost of this surgery is estimated at Rs. 20,00,000. After the transplant, he has a long struggle to fund medications for life that would cost around Rs. 30,000/month.
“We are trying to save a 20 here, 30 there, borrow from everyone we know. I am not sure how much we can pool, but we will do everything we can to save our son.”
Your contribution can help Gokulapriyan get a heart transplant and save this family from life-long of suffering.