My Story: “For Years, Lupus Forced Me To Live On 3 Biscuits & 3 Glasses Of Water A Day; My Survival Was A Miracle” 

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“I was merely a child of twelve when the doctors announced that I had barely six months to live. Despite my painful tryst with Lupus disease since a tender age of four, a 12-year-old me was still unaware of the severity of my condition. The declaration from the doctors shattered my parents and my sister – my family who have always safeguarded me as their most precious treasure in the world. They finally decided to break the news to their little princess, as they anticipated a traumatic reaction from me.

However, I refused to break apart even after the most shocking revelation. I made up my mind not to waste one minute in regretting my destiny, rather fulfil all my dreams in the little time I had left. And like a true warrior, I fought my devastating disease every single day from my hospital bed – to the extent where I was miraculously cured of Lupus one day.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

Today, as a strong, independent adult woman who lost a lot throughout her arduous journey, I  wish to inspire many and spread awareness about the deadly disease of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or commonly called Lupus.

I was four when I contracted a fever that lasted weeks, despite taking all flu medications. After that, following a thorough examination, the doctor concluded that I had Tuberculosis.

The diagnosis was proved wrong soon when I started displaying strange and dangerous symptoms. My blood pressure was fluctuating drastically while my face got covered in dark red butterfly rashes. My body temperature was way above normal and I experienced tremendous stomach ache. The doctors prescribed some common skin ointments for the time being and continuing examining the disease with more precision.

My treatment mostly continued on the basis of trial and error as no doctor in Mumbai diagnosed Lupus until I was nine. As a result, my symptoms refused to alleviate. My family was at their wit’s end.

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Finally, after being to almost every other hospital in Mumbai, it was conveyed to my parents that I was a patient of Systematic Lupus Erythematosus or Lupus. Overcoming their initial shock, they decided not to disclose it to me and continue my treatment as advised.

However, Lupus, an incurable auto-immune disorder is yet to have any effective treatment. My immune system was being self-destructed slowly, which manifested as painful symptoms like tremendous fatigue, kidney damage and pushed me slowly towards the inevitable day by day.

The only medication prescribed to me were steroids whose side effects only increased my plight. At a point, my head and face were swollen beyond recognition. A kidney biopsy was recommended for me, but my physicians ruled against an anaesthetic procedure, fearing that might lead me to a coma. I helplessly witnessed my entire biopsy with my own eyes, with unimaginable pain.

Continued sessions of chemotherapy claimed my beautiful black hair while prolonged illness made my bones fragile, making me the victim of multiple fractures within a short span of time. It was at such a juncture that the doctors disclosed the dreadful news of my remaining six months of life.

The following day, I suffered a sudden cerebral attack that left me paralytic. Fortunately, systematic treatment and therapy helped me to walk on my feet soon. When I was discharged from the hospital this time, I was still facing difficulties with extra water retention in my body, so much so that for a long time, my daily diet comprised of three Marie biscuits and only three glasses of water.

My prolonged treatment incurred heavy expenses for my family, but, nonetheless, they were extremely supportive and caring towards me, all throughout. My father had to sell our house to finance my medical bills. He quit his job and started a business at home to devote more time to me.

With relentless love and care from my family and friends, I achieved the impossible. In 2008, I was declared cured of Lupus – probably one of the very few such instances in history. The doctors dubbed me “The Miracle Child.”

Soon, I resumed my life as an ordinary teenager who appeared for board examination, but for those close to me, I was a superhero, a triumphant soldier. I started dreaming again, to grow up and become someone, one day. But, destiny had more pain in store for me.

In 2011, I lost my mother, who had consistently been my strongest pillar. My only solace was that she had seen me happy and healthy.

Seven years later, in 2018, I lost my father as well. It was an unprecedented shock for me. Now, my sister and I are the only ones to take care of each other. I cannot express in words how much she loves and cares for me.

At present, I am a successful HR professional at a corporate firm in Mumbai, while I also manage my own Numerology centre. I am a deep believer in spirituality as I have felt the divine presence in my own life. I consider myself extremely blessed and now wish to do my bit for other people.

My sister and I are creating a platform for children with Down Syndrome. Now I plan to conduct awareness campaigns to educate people about Lupus.

My prolonged illness has taken a toll on my physique. People often ridicule my obesity. So I am a staunch advocate of body positivity. I am strongly against fat-shaming and I encourage everyone to be proud of their own body.”

– Shrradha Parekh, HR Professional, Mumbai

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

‘Happy Fridge’: The Key To Bridge Food Wastage And Hunger Problem In India

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Rahul Khera and Gautam Jindal, volunteers (aka hunger heroes) at Feeding India, were among the many Delhi NCR residents accustomed to seeing hungry children pick up half-eaten burgers or stale sandwiches from the dustbin and savour those with the brightest smiles. Like many others, they also had the will to promote equitable food distribution but was perplexed about the approach, until they learnt about the community fridge initiative which has gained unprecedented success in Saudi Arabia and few other European countries. Meanwhile, community fridges were already being installed outside restaurants or in public places in a handful of cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Coimbatore and Kochi.

Say Goodbye To Throwing Away Excess Food Because Now You Can Donate The Food To The Needy – Happy Fridge

Thank you for overwhelming response for the Happy Fridge concept. We need more funds from you to install more fridges like this across India. With the limited funds avaialble Feeding India was able to install three fridges only. Kindly donate here http://bit.ly/happyfridge

Posted by The Logical Indian on Saturday, October 27, 2018

Needless to mention, with a shocking 103rd rank in the Global Hunger Index and a food wastage estimate of around Rs 58,000 crore – India was perhaps the best country to implement such an initiative. With Gautam’s help, an enthusiastic Rahul invested his own savings to install a ‘Happy Fridge’ outside his residence at Sun City, Sector 54 in Gurgaon. Set up in 2017 by these Feeding India volunteers, the fridge in Gurgaon has inspired the NGO to scale up the project across India.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

‘Happy Fridge’ fostered many smiles

It didn’t take long for the local residents to learn about this laudable endeavour. They welcomed it, as wastage of excess food was a recurring problem in almost every household. “Intimating the localities was no mammoth task, thanks to social media. However, it was difficult to spread the word among those who actually needed the food,” shares Rahul, who went from auto stands to slums, inviting rickshaw pullers, ragpickers or roadside vendors to avail the community fridge any time they feel hungry. “The security guards of our residential complex played a huge role in explaining how the fridge works to the beneficiaries,” he adds.

The operational and maintenance costs of the ‘ happy fridge ‘ are being maintained diligently by the community members.

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Making memories, sprouting awareness

“I remember one young man who had arrived from a village looking for some menial day job. Somehow he had run out of his paltry savings and had no money to buy one decent meal a day. For about a month, our happy fridge was his solace, till he earned his first salary from a housekeeping job,” shares a jubilant Rahul.

In another incident, a truck driver returning in the wee hours of midnight was starving after a whole day’s hard work. He had run out of cooking fuel at his home, so our fridge was at his rescue.

“The residents keep all sorts of palatable dishes in the happy fridge, ranging from dry snacks, fruits to cooked meals. Sometimes, they even keep raw vegetables, to ensure not a single bit of good food ends up in their trash while other people go hungry to bed,” reveals Rahul.

On an average, each happy fridge supplies around 10-15 meals in a day. The gratitude and pure smiles of the hungry souls after a fulfilling meal are more than enough to continue to motivate Rahul and his neighbours. In fact, inspired by him, many other communities in the Delhi-NCR region set up community fridges in their areas.

Feeding India will set up 500 Happy Fridges

Since the past few years, Feeding India has been a prominent organisation working in the forefront to solve the hunger problem in India. Primarily, they were involved in redistributing leftover food from weddings and parties among the underprivileged people in different cities of India. Their volunteers, better known as “Hunger Heroes of India”, worked actively to bridge the gap between food wastage and food crisis.

“We used to get a lot of calls from individual households to collect their excess food. However, unfortunately, we lacked the manpower and planning to launch our programme on a door to door basis. We were desperately looking for an alternative when we learnt about the community fridges,” shares Srishti Jain, co-founder of Feeding India.

After interacting with Rahul Khera and other campaigners of community fridges, Feeding India decided to amplify this extraordinary project throughout the length and breadth of India. Presently, they have launched the #FightFoodWaste campaign to install 500 community fridges – nicknamed ‘ Happy Fridge ’. So any passer-by – be it a kid going to school without a lunchbox, or a labourer returning home late at night with no promise of a dinner – can now grab a pack of biscuits or a bowl of ‘dal-chawal’ (rice & lentil soup) to satiate their hunger. Click here to contribute for ‘ Happy Fridge ‘ and ensure India never sleeps hungry again.

Feeding India also urges everyone to make a promise to stop wasting food and instead consider donating it to those in need.

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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