Harshala Kharat loves to travel, but her ailment has held her back. Pic/Suresh KK
Her one last wish was to ride a helicopter. A travel aficionado, the 29-year-old is, however, a Thalassemia major patient, a genetic blood disorder that leads to chronic fatigue. Yet, on Sunday, Harshala Kharat finally got her wish, and with the aid of Mihir Shah of The Wishing Factory, she flew on her maiden trip, accompanied by her retired father. Hers was the 51st successful wish fulfilled in Mumbai.
Kharat worked as a computer operator, but due to her failing health, had to quit her job. Every 15 days, she has to get admitted to the Edward’s Memorial (KEM) Hospital for blood transfusions. Now in the last stages of her ailment, in July she learnt about The Wishing Factory — an NGO founded and run by Thalassemics — that attempts to connect via a nationwide WhatsApp group. She then registered with it online and expressed her desire to ride a helicopter.
NGO on a mission
To that end, 20-year-old Parth Thakur, a fellow thalassemic and founder of the NGO, arranged a sponsored ride with Yagnya Aviation at Juhu Aerodrome on Sunday. Kharat and her father Pravin took off at around 3.15 pm.
Thakur explained, “After receiving the wish, I emailed Yagnya Aviation and they immediately showed interest in helping. We encourage people to ‘adopt a wish’ and help patients fulfill something that they always dreamed of. The wishes have categories, which a sponsor is free to adopt. In this case, Shah, who had registered with us to help any patient with such a wish, sponsored the trip.”
Speaking to mid-day, Kharat, an MA in Economics, said, “The feeling of living my wish cannot be expressed in words. I love to travel, but it seems difficult to travel now. If possible though, I would have wanted to travel abroad to Australia and other countries.”