A few months ago when A N Aiyanna, President-elect of RC Mysore Midtown, RID 3181, was returning from Rotary Midtown Academy, a high school run by his club, he spotted a teenage boy, who seemed to be a bundle of energy despite some deformity that was preventing him from walking normally. “I was riding pillion on the two-wheeler of my Rotarian friend Satish Babu; I asked him to stop the bike and went to the boy, who was waiting alone on the footpath to take the public bus back home.”
He found that Lohith was a Class 10 student of the Hemavathi School, Mysuru, and had been born with one leg shorter than the other. This prevented him from walking normally.
“Being a Rotarian, looking at his disability and difficulty in walking normally, I sat with him for some time discussing about his family and his education,” says Aiyanna. He also found that Lohith was sweating profusely as he had been playing kabaddi with his friends at school. “I marvelled at his strength, because he had not allowed his disability to dampen his spirit.”
I marvelled at his strength, because he had not allowed his disability to dampen his spirit.
With Lohith’s father being a pushcart vegetable vendor, the family could not afford any form of artificial support which would enable him to walk normally. “Amazed to find that he loved physical exercise and games, I wanted to help him, and gave my contact details to him and asked him to get his father to call me,” he says.
But when he didn’t get a call after several days, Aiyanna visited the boy’s school to get some details. “Poor response from the school staff that day made me return with a heavy heart.” But he didn’t give up; he discussed Lohith’s case with a Rotarian friend who works in the healthcare industry — the JSS Hospital in Mysuru that designs and fabricates prosthetic limbs.
Aiyanna made another visit to Lohith’s school and this time managed to meet and speak to the headmaster, got more details, took a photograph of the boy’s deformed foot and shared it with some doctors. With the boy’s uncle Nagendra getting involved, the boy was taken to the hospital and initially the doctors said a surgery would be needed before the prosthetic limb could be fitted. But with both Lohith’s family and Aiyanna himself, being hesitant about surgery, the idea was shelved.
Our Interactors raised the amount required — about ₹8,000, and Lohith finally got a suitable prosthetic limb.
But this teenager’s story and zest for games such as kabaddi generated quite a lot of interest and with Aiyanna not giving up his pursuit of finding a solution, “our school headmistress, Ramya Urs, also got involved, and agreed to sponsor the specially-designed artificial limb through Interactors.”
By this time, the Rotarian working at the JSS Hospital said a customised prosthetic leg could be fitted on Lohith without any surgical intervention. Hearteningly enough, the Interact club sponsored by RC Mysore Midtown raised the amount required — about ₹8,000, a concessional rate given by the JSS Hospital, and Lohith finally got a suitable prosthetic limb.
Aiyanna is happy that Lohith “no longer has to limp and can walk normally and play his favourite games. This experience has taught me that if we are sincere, dedicated and committed to doing something, we can do it!”