Thane: Dahi handi group to donate prize money to transplant recipient
This Janmashtami and dahi handi there will be celebrations of a different kind at the Khan household. Until Thursday, a month after he became the first successful heart transplant recipient in Mumbai, 22-year-old Anwar Khan, and his family were facing the bigger question of raising finance, while he marched towards recovery.
Anwar Khan is the first successful heart transplant recipient in Mumbai. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Khan had a successful heart transplant surgery on August 3 and was discharged from Fortis hospital after 22 days. While they were yet to receive a bill for surgery and treatment cost, the financial help offered by the hospital social workers was on the verge of running out.
They were also finding it difficult to handle the medication and post-surgery follow up costs, which are approximately R50,000 per month. But on Friday, they were approached by the organiser of a dahi handi group from Thane, who has promised to give them over R5 lakh of their prize money, putting a smile on their lips.
Sanjay Suresh Bhalika, a Congress member from Thane and the Thane Jilha Congress Sewa Samiti dahi handi organiser, said that he will give the dahi handi prize to Anwar Khan’s family as they are finding it difficult to pay for the expenses. Bhalika said Anwar’s family had approached him for help.
Giving a message
“We have been celebrating dahi handi from the past eight years. After we came to know from the newspaper reports and sources that the family isn’t well off to handle the financial strain caused by the surgery, we decided to donate the dahi handi money to them so that the treatment and follow ups are done on time.
This is more important than celebrating a festival. We want to send out a message to people who are creating differences in society on the basis of religion. We want to show that we are all together. If a Muslim is in need, we Hindus will not celebrate our festival to help him out,” said Bhalika.
Bhalika has been organising various dahi handis every year at 20-25 different places in Thane. The prize money comes from all of them. His group will give Rs 5,51,511 to Khan for the treatment through a cheque by Monday.
Thankful for gesture
The family of Khan, who are ecstatic post the development, said that they are very happy as for some time there will be no hurdles in going ahead with the treatment. “I am thankful to the Govinda Mandal from the bottom of my heart for this kind gesture.
Most importantly, the amount will serve as medication expense for at least next one year and we will be rest assured, that the treatment will continue as per doctors’ advice,” said Jamil Khan, Anwar’s father. “Till now, the savings, valuable assets like gold and silver, were used to manage the cost of medication and follow-ups.
But the money was just about to get over, and we had been left with almost no financial options to continue the treatment,” Jamil had said earlier. While talking to mid-day, the Khans had said that they had to hire another apartment on the top floor of their building at Badlapur for Anwar, so that he spends as little time as possible in company of outsiders, or them, to avoid infections.
But Anwar, who wakes up at 7.30 am everyday, as he was used to during his stay in the hospital, still insists on having breakfast with them and returns to his apartment. The family has been asked to give him food rich in protein so that it helps him regain strength.
“He has to take more than 20-25 pills a day and that is the most irritating part of his schedule, other than not being able to spend time with family. But doctors have advised him strictly to do so, and this will go on for at least three months,” said Narendra, his friend. The family, that deals in scrap with a yearly income of Rs 1.5 lakh approximately, was initially helped by the social workers of Fortis Hospital.
Help even poured in locally – from NGOs etc. “We had got around Rs 20,000 through hospital sources, but that money and our savings were close to coming to an end. Even our younger son met with an accident and his treatment cost around Rs 50,000. We had contacted a popular trust but haven’t received a confirmation from their end yet,” Jamil had said.
The Khans were planning to seek help of religious groups, and non-profit organizations, for the costs. Since he is slated to spend at least three to four months in isolation, the medication costs are going to remain high during the period.
The cost of the medication is estimated to be around Rs 28-30,000 a month. Added to this is a weekly follow-up at the hospital, which involves numerous tests like 2D Echo and ECG to keep a check on the condition of the heart activity and abilities to function. The visits cost up to Rs 4,000 a session with the monthly estimate of around Rs 16,000.