Parents who lost topper son to TB set up scholarship for needy kids

Feb 26, 2014, 07:28 IST | Richa Pinto

With a score of 97.6%, Shreeram Radhakrishnan had outclassed everyone else in the 2011 CBSE Std XII exams in Maharashtra region. Not only that; with an all-India rank of 224 in the Joint Entrance Examination, he also secured a seat at IIT-Bombay.

Shreeram’s father R Radhakrishnan and mother Lalitha at their home in Nerul’s sector 21. Pic/Emmanual Karbhari
Shreeram’s father R Radhakrishnan and mother Lalitha at their home in Nerul’s sector 21. Pic/Emmanual Karbhari

While his parents were justifiably jubilant, the teenager was in no condition to rejoice. The high fever he was suffering from, was soon diagnosed as a symptom of multiple-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), and about 18 months later the young man succumbed to it.

Now, his father, an IIT- Bombay alumnus himself, and mother, are trying to keep their son’s memory alive. The couple has established a charitable trust to award scholarships to meritorious and underprivileged students, and also contribute in the fight against the dreaded disease that took away their beloved boy.

Shreeram’s father, R Radhakrishnan (58), and mother, Lalitha (50), say that the 18 months of their life, when their son was in and out of hospital, was a period which they hope even their worst enemy does not have to endure.

Speaking to MiD DAY at their home in Nerul’s sector 21, R Radhakrishnan said, “In the memory of our beloved son, we have set up a public charitable enterprise ‘Shreeram Radhakrishnan Memorial Trust’.

The basic aim of the trust will be to award prizes and scholarships to the meritorious and needy, and also contribute our might in the fight against TB.” “We have just started, and have a long way to go,” said Lalitha, adding, “The brief journey of Shreeram saw extremes.

The first eighteen years of unbounded happiness and achievements that would make anyone proud, and the last eighteen months of physical and mental torture because of TB and meningitis, to which he finally succumbed on December 3, 2012.”

Spreading a message
His parents, who cannot stop praising their teenage champion, said that they were keen on doing something in academics, as their son was an ace at it, having won several scholarships all through his life. “Besides, having spent each minute with him during his treatment, we know what it is like for someone fighting this awful ailment.

Although the municipal corporations do a good job and cover the deprived sections in creating awareness about TB, it is not just a poor man’s disease. We plan to meet the zonal doctors in charge of TB treatment, and work towards creating understanding about the disease in students of all schools,” his father said.

Good beginning
Last week, the trust awarded certificates and cash prizes to two class XII students of Apeejay School for excellence in academics and all-round performance.

In the pipeline is the sponsorship of an engineering student, some youngsters wanting to pursue BSc, funding the education of Balwadi children, coordinating with local authorities for spreading TB awareness, etc.

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