14-year-old Goregaon resident Ibrahim (name changed) lost both his parents at the tender age of 5, shortly after he was diagnosed with HIV himself. Under the loving care of his paternal grandmother, the Goregaon resident was able to resume school after losing a few years. One ardent wish, however, remained unfulfilled — that of owning a bicycle. Now 14, Ibrahim wanted to blend in with his other friends, and go riding with them.
Gift of the magi: The overjoyed boy rode his bicycle in the hospital grounds right after receiving it
However, the family’s financial circumstances didn’t allow for the luxury, and his grandmother, who single-handedly raises him and his other two siblings, was unable to save Rs 2,500 that would be required for the purchase. Being denied his wish, the usually plucky teenager had slipped into depression.
“He kept asking us to get him a bicycle every single day and it broke our hearts since we weren’t able to provide him with one. I approached his doctor at Sion Hospital, where he has been undergoing treatment, and requested him to help us out,” said Ruvedha (61), his maternal grandmother who takes him to the civic-run hospital at frequent intervals for Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART), where he is given first line drugs for HIV.
While the boy battled TB a few years ago, he is now completing Std V in a Goregaon municipal school. “I requested the doctors to help him get a cycle as he wasn’t eating well or taking his medicines properly, knowing about our severe financial limitations,” she added.
Seeing the boy’s plight, a doctor from the hospital decided to try and look for donors for a brand new bicycle for his patient.
“The patient’s grandmother requested that I should look for donors who would be willing to foot the cost for the bicycle, and I started looking last week. After approaching a few people, a donor called Bhagwan Kamdhenu expressed willingness to make the boy’s dream of owning a bicycle come true,” said Dr Yeshwant Ghabhale, an associate professor at the paediatrics department.
He was able to get in touch with the donor through a mediator, Waljibhai. “We were able to pull this off with the support of our head of department, Dr Mamta Manglani,” he added.
On Monday, an excited Ibrahim was presented a blue bicycle in the HIV and Thalassemia care unit of the hospital. “On seeing this gift from a complete stranger, his whole face lit up and he was so happy that his wish had been granted. He insisted on riding his bicycle in the hospital itself, before he rushed off to his school to appear for his final exams,” said Ruvedha.