Thursday, March 3, 2011

Crippled boy dreams of sprinting again

Thursday, March 03, 2011
By Kaptan Mali
Thirteen-year-old Deepak Soni was a class IV student and like other boys of his age liked to run, walk and dance. Since the last two years, he is confined to a broken bed. As the family couldn’t afford Rs. 2 lakh, he has not yet been treated. 

Two years’ ago, August 13, 2009 Janmasthami, Deepak was rushing out of the municipal school at Kandivli along with other kids, during lunch recess when he fell on his back and suffered minor injuries. Afraid of being scolded, Deepak didn’t talk about his fall at home. The injury aggravated and caused serious damage to his backbone, which is termed as intramedullary neoplasm.  When asked about his ambitions, Deepak’s eyes brighten as he says, “I want to study more and become a doctor and cure people who are living a life like me. I want to play outside. I don’t want to be confined to bed. I want to be with my friends.”

Deepak’s father, Omprakash Soni, a construction labourer, says “I am so unfortunate not to be able to save my son’s future. I earn around Rs 100 a day and my job is not regular. I can barely manage the food expenses. The medical expenses have put me in debt.”

Omprakash further revealed that he had approached local corporator Kamlesh Yadav, Local MLA Yogesh Sagar and MP Sanjay Nirupam but didn’t get any help from them. MLA Yogesh Sagar gave him Rs.2000 and offered more help, but when he again went there he was told that they have not opened a social service center to help people like him.

Omprakash visited several private as well as government hospitals but couldn’t get Deepak cured. He was only referred from one doctor to another. Even a government hospital like KEM, after providing basic treatment, asked Omprakash to deposit Rs.2 lakh for further treatment.

Deepak’s mother, Santoshee Soni, who helps by doing imitation jewellery work from home said, “My son still wants to study, but he can’t go to school. I tried to arrange for tuition teachers but they ask for high rates which we cannot afford. We are not even in a position to buy him a wheelchair.”

Munna Sheikh, a social worker from the area, who has been running from pillar to post to help Deepak’s family said, “All I want is that the future of this boy shouldn’t get ruined just because his parents can’t afford his treatment costs. Wastage of Deepak’s life is like a curse on the nation. I request people to come forward to let Deepak stand on his feet again.”  

Deepak’s desperate circumstances …
  • Deepak is the second child of his parents
  • His elder sister is deaf and dumb
  • His father is a construction worker earning Rs.100 per day
  • His mother works from home for an imitation jewellery firm
  • Deepak has serious injury on his backbone
  • He needs around Rs.2 lakhs for treatment