Abhay: The Story of A Fearless Survivor
Ever since I found out I would be interning with Genesis Foundation I was very keen on finding out more about the children and the families the foundation has impacted. On my very first day working with them, I was presented with such an opportunity.
I was going to be meeting 6-month-old Abhay who had just undergone a PDA Device Closure.
In Trilokpuri, New Delhi, Abhay was born to his parents in the month of July 2019. They were overjoyed when they had him. A child brings in a world of new possibilities, a complete change in your life, and of course tons and tons of happiness. They were ready to begin their journey of a lifetime with their child and were very excited. But when your loved one goes through pain, especially someone so tiny and pure, it becomes immeasurably hard to see them face any adversity. Abhay would regularly fall sick, get chest infections, and pneumonia. These things are hard enough to deal with as a grown adult but being an infant so young and facing such pains is hard to even imagine. His parents thought it was normal at first but grew increasingly concerned when it would happen more often than what seemed normal. They couldn’t bear to see their child in pain anymore.
Abhay was 3 months old when they met Dr. Gaurav, who works at Max Hospital, Saket. He was conducting a surgery in Yashoda Hospital, a hospital in the area they live in, and they were able to consult him regarding their son. With the mention of regular chest issues, he suspected that he had some issues with his heart. He recommended them to visit Dr.Neeraj Awasthy, principal consultant and in chargeof paediatric cardiologyat Max Hospital, Saket and has worked with Genesis Foundation on multiple of our cases. They were also informed that Max Hospital, Saket, had a tie-up with Genesis Foundation and were told about the financial support they provide for the treatment for underprivileged children. Abhay and his parents made their way to Saket to consult Dr.Awasthy. He detected that Abhay had Patent Ductus Arteriosus, a form of Congenital Heart Disease with about a million cases in India per year. He would require a PDA Device Closure. Abhay’s father is the only one who earns money in the family and on the meagre income he earned per month as a driver, there was no way they could have afforded a surgery so expensive. And here’s where Genesis Foundation came in. With the help of ACRE, the fund donor, they were able to afford Abhay’s surgery. They were told to wait until Abhay reached a certain weight i.e. 6 kilograms, so that his heart arteries would reach a significant amount of thickness so the surgery would go smoothly. And hence the wait began. 3 months later, Abhay was ready to have his surgery done and on 6th January 2020, Abhay was ready to begin a new and healthy life. He would no longer be weighed down by his illness. Abhay faced the surgery but his parents were the ones who could finally breathe again. They were overjoyed when they found out his surgery went smoothly, and their son could now live a normal life.
The next day, we visited Abhay and his family and I was surprised to see Abhay so unfazed by what he has faced the previous day. We handed him a teddy bear and saw a huge smile light up his face. It warmed my heart to see the aftermath of months of torture and it felt amazing to be working with a foundation that has helped, and will continue helping, in the treatment for underprivileged children and provide them and their families a chance at overcoming a disease so fatal, something they couldn’t have done without a helping hand.
Technology has advanced rapidly and hence a lot of children with CHDs are able to reach adulthood. But this privilege is available only to children born in high-income countries. People like Abhay and his family aren’t exposed to such an advantage since their income holds them back. But foundations like Genesis Foundation are doing miraculous work by helping people stuck in such situations, where the cure is right in front of them, but they aren’t able to reach for it.
It is highly inspiring to see children like Abhay. Abhay literally means fearless and he has shown us that he is indeed a fearless survivor.
– Contributed by Ananya Ravi