When Mallikarjun came to proVision Asia in early 2010, his wife and kids in tow, he limped his way into the Physiotherapy department complaining of pain in the knee. On further investigation, we found out that he had been diagnosed with a tumor in the knee and the hospital that he had visited earlier gave him no option but to ampute his leg, knee down. Mallikarjun who used to work as a lorry driver is 30 years old, has a young wife and 2 very small children. The possibility of losing a leg was not an easy thing to come to terms with and he had come to proVision to get any sort of help; maybe the monetary assistance to even get his leg amputated.
Mallikarjun with the tumor in his knee At the hospital after his biopsy, with wife Lakshmi
Amputation was going to be our last resort considering Mallikarjun’s age and the credibility of the report. A second opinion required him to get a new biopsy but neither he nor us had the money to fund the biopsy. After numerous visits to hospitals talking to doctors to perform a biopsy for free, scores of appeal letters for Mallikarjun’s sake, help came from where it was least expected. A friend offered to sponsor the biopsy when he heard one of us mention the case in passing at a coffee shop! Luckily, the test showed that he had a benign tumor, but a tumor that was growing and had to be operated immediately – And there we were, staring at the "Funding" issue all over again.
Things have a way of working out, when something is meant to happen. When we look back on this case, it seems quite strange how things fell into place. This is not to say everything went on without a glitch and it was smooth sailing all along. There were moments when we were so exhausted, physically and mentally, that we wanted to give up and take him to govt. hospital for an amputation. But luckily we did not. We persisted and took up his case almost like a personal project that we had to complete! And that is when we met Dr.Srinivas, an ortho oncologist at M.S.Ramaish Hospital who filled us with new hope. Running an NGO for Bone Cancer himself, Dr.Srinivas could connect with us, empathize with Mallikarjun and offered to help us; more importantly, encouraged us to consider a limb Salvage surgery for Mallikarjun.
With Rs.50000 we had collected by then, thanks to kind donors (one of them also brought his college batch mates together( SJCC 1990 batch)) and the Margadarshi trust for the disabled, we were still short of at least Rs.75000, just to perform the operation apart from the other expenses needed for tests etc. The hospital treating Mallikarjun promised to charge us only for the material cost of the operation as he is economically weak. The doctor also arranged for Mallikarjun’s article to be published in Newspapers and urged us to apply for the Chief Ministers Relief Fund. We entered Vidhana Soudha, skeptical, not knowing what to expect after we had heard so much about the red tapism and the corruption that goes on inside "babu land". Luckily for us, the doctor had asked us to meet one person in particular, the person in case being the CM’s Secretary. We came out of his Office with smiles stretching from one ear to the other! After listening to us and sensing the urgency of the matter, the Secretary wrote a number on the application. He had just sanctioned Rs.1,00,000 for Mallikarjun’s surgery. What usually takes months, took less than 5 minutes. It was almost surreal, walking out of that Office.
With the govt cheque in the hospital, Mallikarjun is prepping up for surgery which is due to take place this Friday, 4th June 2010. We were connected to doctors, donors who turned out to be true heroes for sticking with us for so long and helping us whenever we needed them. Due to their help we are able to give Mallikarjun something to look forward to in the future. He can go back to living a normal life and taking care of his family. Now, we pray that all goes well on Friday, that he has a speedy recovery and can get back to being healthy and happy.