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Have you ever been to Kochi? Read how I experienced a different side as a volunteer at Genesis Foundation.

When you think of Kochi, what comes to mind? A holiday involving backwaters, a wide array of aromatic spices, beaches, exploring Fort Kochi and indulging in a lip smacking South Indian cuisine.

This was my first time in Kochi, and I was exploring a different side. In my mind, something far more important, as I was about to give a piece of my heart away for a cause I truly believe in – Genesis Foundation. I was enroute to Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences.

Throughout my time at Genesis Foundation, I work with content, and every month there are a list of stories that I write of the souls of our foundation, our GF Kids. I try and feel for each child and the hardships they as well as their families face. But now I was prepping to make it a ground reality. I was about to meet over ten little lives, that we have saved.

As we arrived, we were greeted by a lovely, smiling Rinku who took us to meet with Dr Krishna Kumar, Clinical Professor & HOD Paediatric Cardiology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Centre. He was handling an emergency situation, and was rushing in for a Cath Lab Procedure but he dedicated some valuable time speaking with us.

He told us that they were having a small ‘thanks’ ceremony as they were sending two premature babies home after many weeks of being hospitalised before and after their surgeries. Out of which, one little champion, the baby of Selva Jothi had been financially supported by us. The real challenge for this little baby’s repair was that he was extremely pre-term and doing a ventricular septal defect (VSD) closure under these circumstances is extremely high risk as all the organs in a pre-term child have not fully developed.

So, giving thanks, and recognizing each person’s input in sending this little baby home was a beautiful gesture. Here was an opportunity to meet 180 people that are not always in the front lines but are responsible for sending these little ones back home, right where they belong.

As far as we know, these could be the youngest lives that have been operated on for heart disorder in the country. It is the team at Amrita who work in such unison, each with their skill set – from the actual diagnosis, to surgery, followed by nutrition and post-operative care to ensure growth as these little ones are premature and pose a whole new level of hardships that only a dedicated and skilled team can handle. The procession involved various teams speaking of the challenges that they faced, how perhaps they can be better equipped in the future and generally we got a great understanding of the amount that goes in from a BIG team to ensure that one child survives. It doesn’t stop at the diagnosis, nor does it stop at the surgeon, everything has to work together to get the results we pray for. It was really touching to see the parents get up and give thanks, and tell their story.

This is what team work and dedication means, without which saving critically ill children is just not possible.

Our visit to Amrita Institute, also gave us an opportunity to meet some children and their parents who we have previously financially supported. Here are some photos of the children that we met, some of who we had treated two years ago, and others that were more recent.

Two years ago, we financially supported a baby that was only eight days old and had not yet been named – she was known as Baby of Rani. Now, two years later she goes by the name Kirthisri and we met her as she came with her family for a follow-up check. Those chubby cheeks as a baby, still remain – I remember writing her story back then and I couldn’t help but smile at the fact that this little one had grown up, and we were able to give her life a chance by supporting her surgery. She has been able to live well past her first birthday, happy and healthy.

I really can’t put to words how I felt interacting with all the little ones that had come to see us. There was one little girl in particular – Mithya Sankar who was beaming with happiness, her eyes were sparkling and she was totally enamoured by me and I by her. Who would think just a few months ago this baby was suffering from a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) and needed life-saving surgery to live. All the parents in that room were beaming with gratefulness, that their children were well on the road to recovery. A few teary-eyed parents, who made me well up with tears as this was the only way they could express their gratitude towards the help we were able to give. You can see that they have been at the brink of no hope, they have met with fear head on, the fear that comes with the possibility of losing a child and how together we were able to eradicate that fear and turn it into a life time together with their children. This was honestly one of the most humbling experiences, ever.

It puts life into perspective, it makes my job the most fulfilling job I have had till date. The love, the dedication, and the way Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences works makes our work in Kochi an integral part of our foundation in saving critically ill children.

Until next time, thank you Kochi!

Written by Simran Sagar, Volunteer – Genesis Foundation