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Sheela's Story

Sheela’s story is one that is similarly close to the Foundation and its development.

 

Sheela’s story begins in the tribal areas of Central India. Born in 1968, Sheela was the youngest of three sisters and two brothers. Her father was a marginal farmer, barely able to eke out a living from the soil, while her mother was already losing a medical battle that would later take her life. By the age of twelve, her face began to deteriorate due the latent disease that she had inherited from her mother and she was abandoned by her family. She was brought by a priest to an orphanage at New Delhi. She lived there for over a decade. By the time Prema and Jyoti met Sheela, it was already difficult for her to breathe or eat properly. A good friend Eugene Mihaly, who often visited India, helped out by reaching out to a U.S. based non-profit organisation dedicated to bringing the benefits of corrective plastic surgery to patients in developing countries. They agreed to accept Sheela’s challanging case at no cost. It was arranged that she would stay with the Blake family on the west coast. Support was mobilised in the form of donations that swelled to cover air travel, clothing and accessories. In the US she went through a series of complex procedures including grafting of the skin, the rebuilding of her nose and the rectification of her eye ducts.But her mind was undergoing an even more radical change. Bouts of surgery were interspersed with adult literacy classes, the dynamics of family life and everyday joys like learning to swim, cycle, play baseball – an experience far removedfrom her growing years in the village or Delhi. Sheela, armed with tenacity she had to develop as a child, adapted quickly. Shortly after her surgeries were completed, the Blake family’s offer of board and lodging evolved into a heart-felt request for full-fledged adoption. Today, Sheela lives with her husband in the US and is the mother of two healthy children.

Ravi's Story

Every major bone in Ravi’s young body had been broken or dislocated when his father, in a drunken stupor, had thrown him into a dry well. Unable to cope with his subsequent medical condition, Ravi’s family abandoned him in a hospital and from there he was sent to an orphanage where he spent his days lying on a bed – unable to move or speak.

 

At the tender age of seven, Ravi’s future seemed limited – not by his spirit but by the circumstances that prevented him from receiving the medical intervention that he needed. Moved and concerned by Ravi’s condition, Prema explored avenues for helping Ravi and in that effort reached out – once again – to Eugene Mihaly, who was visiting India at the time. Eugene contacted one of the leading hospitals for crippled children in the United States of America – a charitable orthopaedic centre that offered treatment including complex surgical procedures which were then not possible in India. Meanwhile, Prema was putting together the necessary tests and reports. After reviewing this medical dossier, the hospital agreed to take on his case. Funds were raised by Prema and Jyoti for Ravi’s travel (along with an escort) across continents to the Missionaries of Charity on the west coast, where he was cared for as he underwent treatment at the hospital.

 

In the course of one year, Ravi underwent two surgical procedures to reposition his leg which made it possible for him to sit up – for the first time in years. This physical mobility, though previously unimaginable to him and his guardians, quickly grew into a personal mobility as well. He gained the confidence he needed to communicate and express himself. Soon, the little boy in a red wheel chair became a familiar sight at the hospital, fussed over and adored by all.

 

Ravi was eventually adopted by the Smith family; he has a brood of brothers and sisters, he swims, he goes to school and, of course, he serves as a constant source of inspiration to our team at the Genesis Foundation.

Amrita's Story

The next significant case in the development of the Foundation came in 2004. At birth, Amrita had been abandoned in a garbage dump near a hospital in New Delhi. Her left cheek, ear and parts of her face had been ravaged extensively by an animal. Her cries were – very thankfully – heard by a PCU van that was patrolling the area at the time. After she was stabilised at a nearby hospital, Amrita was transferred to an NGO supported by the government.

 

Now, at that time, Trustees Prema Sagar and Miecckey Bharrucha were visiting such orphanages and seeking out new cases to support. Having primarily dealt with eye-surgeries since the cases of Sheela and Ravi, they were looking to revitalise the Foundation’s work with surgery and treatment that were complex and expensive.

 

Amrita’s long road to recovery began when the staff at the orphanage requested Prema and Miecckey to support her treatment. They quickly agreed, and left the orphanage with medical papers and a photograph of little Amrita to show to doctors and prospective donors.

 

Having been employed at Apollo Hospitals before joining the Foundation, Miecckey contacted the head of plastic surgery there, Dr. Shahin Nooreyezdin. He took a single look at Amrita’s photograph and informed Miecckey that his team would do the necessary procedures gratis – that is, absolutely free of charge. The hospital, courtesy Dr. Reddy, waived their charges as well.

 

There on, Amrita needed cosmetic reconstructive surgery almost every year –each facilitated and made possible by the Genesis Foundation till she was adopted by a single woman living in Europe. Today she goes to school, plays several games and loves horse riding.