One of Veena Venugopal’s greatest dreams was to go on a trip during the night and enjoy the sunset from the seashore, while the waves caressed her feet. People might consider these as very simple, but for Veena, those were uphill tasks.
Confined to the wheel-chair, Veena could not even imagine long trips. Her only trips were those which she conducted to a nearby mall. But the young woman was unwilling to submit herself to fate and decided to stick to her dreams.
Finally, her parents Venugopal and Sajeevani agreed. Veena travelled to Varkala beach along with her mother and relatives. It was a night trip, fulfilling Veena’s first demand.
They stayed at a friends’ houses on the way and spent three days for the journey. In Kollam, Krishna Kumar hosted them. He is a muscular dystrophy-affected person and winner of the Icon award instituted by Youth Welfare Board. Veena and her family went sightseeing in Kollam city, enjoyed a movie, had food from a restaurant and tea from a roadside eatery. Later, they headed to Varkala beach. But the wheel-chair got stuck in the sand.
The relatives found a solution in no time. They lifted the wheel-chair and carried it across the sand to the beach. That boosted Veena’s spirits. ‘You can go, I will sit here,’ said the young woman.
Meanwhile, the Sun began to set, presenting an indescribable sight. This amazing view still gives Veena much-needed self-confidence.
Vishnudas of Thadapparambu in Tirur, Thrissur dreamed of a going on a trip. His half-brothers and friends made elaborate arrangements for the journey. They started out in a car and resolved to carry Vishnudas along with his wheel-chair wherever the wheel-chair would not go.
The team reached Nelliyampathy early in the morning when the mist begun to fade. The sight lifted everyone’s spirits. Though they approached the Suicide Point, negotiating the wheel-chair over the rocky path proved difficult and the touring party gave up the plan.
Meanwhile, Vishnu felt like sitting on a bike parked by the roadside. His friends immediately responded and the youth sat on it. Snaps were clicked with the beautiful scenery of Nelliyampathy in the background.
Till a Chennai-based non-governmental organisation donated him an electric wheel-chair, Vishnu had never ventured outside his house. Now he is confident that he would defeat the crippling disease that affects muscles.
A genetic disease, muscular dystrophy can affect any muscle in the body. When the condition sets in, the muscles gradually become weak and may wear out. A normal person may soon find himself or herself on a wheel-chair. As it is a genetic disease, it can appear any time.
Early symptoms of the condition are difficulty in walking and falling down frequently. The condition soon spreads to various muscles and could affect the heart, lungs and other internal organs. As the person grows up, the disease too acquires strength and over a time, movement without support becomes impossible.
People affected by muscular dystrophy may be worried over the disease spreading to various muscles. They should never be allowed to feel depressed. This is what ‘Mind’ (Mobility in dystrophy), an association of muscular dystrophy patients, hopes to achieve. Its president is K K Krishna Kumar. Most of the 400-odd members had been affected by the condition while they were children. But they have now learnt to tackle hurdles with a smile.
Another wish of ‘Mind’ is free movement for wheel-chairs. For this, muscular dystrophy-hit people too have to be considered while building common facilities. They are eagerly looking forward to the implementation of the proposal to allow smooth travel on wheel-chair within two years.
Mind can be contacted over phone numbers: 9980013978 or 9747724455.