Sunday, June 25, 2017

She loved dancing. She was an artist with steady hands that worked magic with colours. She was this kid who couldn’t give up, if she didn’t get things right the first time or the second or the third. The painting, the dance sequence, had to be perfect. And it always ended up being so, eventually.

In mid-2013, Parnavi, this 17-year-old student of St. Joseph’s school, Pune, started experiencing an acute pain in her left thigh, which just wouldn’t go. After the usual treatment with pain killers and muscle relaxers, she was eventually diagnosed with cancer of the Femur, the all-important thigh bone. Where most people would have plunged into depression, this little girl, in her own words, ‘found it to be a challenge to overcome’. Call her naïve, but she just didn’t think it was the end of the world.

Parnavi’s mother, who lost her husband within a couple of years of marriage to a sudden cardiac arrest, clearly is the source of the spirit the girl carries.

What followed was a series of diagnostic tests, biopsy rounds and a bunch of chemotherapy sessions, which increasingly sapped her energy. Her hands would frequently tremble due to the medication and she could barely grip a pencil. Through all that, doctors found this cheerful, die-hard patient of theirs difficult to give up on and the hospital staff in every single hospital she had to visit, made her feel at home.

Parnavi’s mother, who lost her husband within a couple of years of marriage to a sudden cardiac arrest, clearly is the source of the spirit the girl carries. After her husband’s premature demise, she was left to fend for herself without any family support, leave alone any inheritance. The spirited woman that she is, she vowed to give the best to her daughter and worked hard at whatever job she could land, to give her daughter a good education.

But the revelation of Parnavi’s condition was a blow like no other. The rounds to government offices and institutions for seeking financial aid became a daily routine. While her efforts showed results, it wasn’t without help from friends and acquaintances and also the countless strangers who chipped in financially or otherwise to make the treatment possible.

The school staff and students stood in solidarity with this mother-daughter duo and they went all out to get financial help. Her friends made sure that she was never left alone, so there she was kept away from depression that loneliness can frequently be a trigger for.

Today, a little over a year after the surgery, this cheerful girl stands on her feet again, showing us all what sheer willpower can do…

Parnavi recalls the hours before the surgery when she sat cross-legged on the hospital bed, knowing that that was possibly the last time she would ever be able to bend her leg that way. The surgery that got her thigh bone replaced by a steel rod was successfully completed in early 2014. The months that followed had her bedridden for the most part. Meticulous exercise and physiotherapy got her to slowly be able to get on her feet.

Today, a little over a year after the surgery, this cheerful girl stands on her feet again, showing us all what sheer willpower can do, even as she braves the few limitations the treatment has left her with. As she now majors in Psychology, she intends to help many others go the distance with their recovery from conditions that seem hopeless.

She loves dancing. She’s an artist with hands that are getting steadier by the day and working magic with colours. She is this kid who just won’t give up. The painting, the dance sequence, has to be perfect. And it always ends up being so, eventually.

Comments

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  • Manoj

    Great Parnavi!
    And thanks Abhishek for covering such an inspiring story!

    Mar 14, 2016, 5:24 am
    Reply
    • Abhishek Iyer

      Always a pleasure Manoj!

      Mar 15, 2016, 1:14 pm
      Reply
  • Abhishek Iyer

    Always a pleasure talking to brave and inspiring people Manoj!
    Thank you for your kind words!

    Mar 17, 2016, 6:57 am
    Reply
  • Sumant

    Thanks Abhishek for covering a story of Parnavi. Parnavi is a model of society. And Parnavi’s mother(Archana) also great.

    Apr 4, 2016, 12:20 am
    Reply
  • Atul Deshmukh

    Such a brave girl……..Parnavi. I only recall those beautiful lines by Ernest Hemingway which adequately describe this brave girl, “A man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” Brave girl and brave mom.

    Apr 4, 2016, 12:21 pm
    Reply