Chennai: For Kundrathur couple Sharath Kumar and Vidya, life came to a halt after their seven-month-old son Sabareeshwaran, was diagnosed with a rare heart disease.
After doctors in government hospitals advised them to go for private treatment, they were soon told that a surgery was the only way out, with the procedure costing Rs 2.25 lakh.
Help initially came in the form of their neighbour, who gave money to admit the child. To collect the operation fee within the next 24 hours, she decided to seek the help of her friends through WhatsApp. It was here that Kodambakkam resident G Padmapriya and Shiva, a social service volunteer, came into the picture.
Speaking on this, Padmapriya who raised the required amount with the help of her NGO Mindtree, says, “I read a forwarded message on WhatsApp about the surgery and called the couple for verification. I then decided to help them by forwarding it on my network. I also informed Shiva, a social worker, who is actively involved in fund-raising activities.”
The next day, Shiva and Padmapriya met the child’s’ parents in hospital and assured help. At the time, the hospital was also kind enough to reduce the operation fee to Rs 1.25 lakh.
“To collect the amount, I took a photo of the child along with me and posted it on WhatsApp. It was only after this that I began to receive a lot of support,” she says, adding, “I was able to collect Rs 10,000 from my family. The remaining Rs 80,000 was collected within a day, thanks to many unknown people who contributed and showed a keen interest in the cause. I was overwhelmed by the response I received,” she adds.
With her Rs 90,000 and Shiva’s Rs 60,000, they went to the hospital and paid the operation fee.
“We even had an extra Rs 10,000 that I gave it to the child’s parents to use it post surgery,” she states, adding, “The operation was successful and the baby will be discharged soon,” said Padmapriya.
However, she credits the couple’s neighbour for making it possible.
“Without her timely intervention to put the news on WhatsApp, nobody would have known about this case. I realised that humanity exists and a lot of people are willing to contribute, provided the information is credible and the person is trustworthy,” she says.