When money can buy happiness
December 11, 2019 | Contributed by Simran Sagar
In India, statistics show that 35,000 children are born with a cleft lip and considering a birth prevalence of 9/1000, the estimated number of children born with CHD is more than 200,000 annually.As he came into this world on 23rd January 2016, Vedansh became one of these children. Born with two birth defects, he was a special case, one we dedicated ourselves to, to bring a smile.
Vedansh is the middle child of couple Prem Prakash and Ruby who hail from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. Their first born is a girl called Tripti who despite being older than Vedansh doesn’t hesitate to complain about her brother. He apparently loves to play fight with her so sibling rivalry is in full swing. Their family welcomed a third member– little baby boy Jigar just two months ago.
Three years ago, when Vedansh was born – the cleft lip was the more apparent issue they wanted to rectify. So, they went to a nearby Government hospital look for direction on what to do.During examination, the doctors detected a murmur in the boy’s heart and referred the family to another hospital in Lucknow for further tests.
This truly caught them by surprise.
They were looking for answers to get Vedansh’s cleft lip fixed but they were presented with another issue, a potentially life-threatening one. For two days they camped out near the hospital, but with no such luck, they returned home soon without an opportunity to meet the concerned doctor.
When they returned home, Vedansh started showing alarming signs of breathlessness. They lost many nights of sleep wondering what was wrong with their son’s heart. So once again they embarked on a chase around Lucknow and Gorakhpur. Vedansh was hospitalized on multiple occasions and the family incurred huge medical costs, but as any parent they just wanted their boy to get better.
Prem Prakash works in a cement manufacturing company and earns Rs 4000 per month. In the world today, getting by on such a humble salary is anything but easy. There are days when parents with large families have to sacrifice their own meal to ensure their children are fed.
I think about it often, if someone gave me Rs 4000 and asked me to manage for a month. I am sure I could do it. The current comfort of a lifestyle will be compromised, which we take for granted. Are these parents used to it, because they know no other way? Yes.
But everyone has a threshold. When it is a question of your own child’s life, every one of these parents’ questions whether life has dealt them a fair deck of cards. Raising money for child surgery is impossible unless personal loans are taken which have exorbitant interest rates.
I cannot fathom the pain and the sense of absolute helplessness that is felt when your bank balance dictates whether you can save your child, your flesh and blood.
We live in a world today where everyone questions what happiness is to them. Often you will hear that money cannot buy happiness and as much as I personally agree with this, as material goods can never offer long term contentment.
Money for these parents can buy happiness, because it allows them medical treatment they otherwise cannot afford.
So, here was Vedansh’s family, neck deep in loans and no clear diagnosis, questioning life and its fairness.
One of Prem Prakash’s friends finally referred them to a private hospital in Gorakhpur where Pediatric Cardiologist, Dr Neeraj Awasthi from Max Hospital, Delhi conducts a clinic once a month. An Echo was done which finally revealed the exact diagnosis – an atrial septal defect, a type of CHD. There was a hole in between the upper chambers of the little boy’s heart. His parents were torn. They didn’t know where to turn, but Dr Awasthi counseled them and assured them of help, all thanks to our partnership with Max Hospital over the years.
Finally, the couple felt the stresses lifting as hope began to seep into their lives. They made their way to Delhi, Prem Prakash had to take leave and this meant his salary would be compromised, but he could not let his pregnant wife go alone. Vedansh had an open-heart surgery which was supported through our CSR partnership with WPP India CSR Foundation.
It went off successfully and he was discharged in a stable condition.
We have spoken to the family numerous times and even visited them in their home, where they welcomed us with hearts full of gratitude. Vedansh is back in play school, smiling as he kicks his ball with ease and no breathlessness. He is due for another check-up, end December with Dr Awasthi and once Vedansh gets the green light, his father wants to make the necessary arrangements to take his son for his cleft lip surgery.
Watch his film here:
You can help by raising money for child surgery, by visiting our GIVE page or simply scanning our PAYTM code.
Let’s bring happiness into the lives of more families and make giving organic as we pool in as a society to truly make a difference to the little hearts who need life-saving intervention.