An Indian boy was offered life-changing surgery due to a kind gesture from a woman thousands of miles away.
Mahendra Ahirwar from Madhya Pradesh in central India was an outcast because of a rare condition that caused his head to hang upside-down, according to the Daily Mail.
The 13-year-old suffers from congenital myopathy, a muscle disorder that causes extreme weakness and may lead to other health complications, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Most forms of congenital myopathy have no known cures, and the condition is typically managed through supportive treatments, such as physical or speech therapy.
Mahendra was in constant pain and was dependent on his mother for basic needs. As no physician had been able to help him, his parents stopped taking him to doctors.
One day, Julie Jones from Liverpool, England, read about Mahendra’s story and wanted to help.
"While everyone was looking to help, no one was actually doing anything," Jones said. "So there and then, I got out my laptop, found a crowd-funding website and created an account."
In four weeks, Jones raised over $17,5000 to cover the costs associated with Mahendra’s surgery and treatment.
A documentary follows the teenager and his family as they traveled to New Delhi for the risky procedure, which was performed by Dr. Rajagopalan Krishnan at Apollo Hospital.
"I was certain that I could improve his quality of life and that he’d be able to look at the world straight rather than upside down but I had to be sure I wouldn’t kill him," Dr. Krishnan explained.
As part of the film, producers arranged for Jones to meet Mahendra.
"It was hard going, especially with the film cameras in my face," she recalled. "I felt vulnerable and barely slept the first night but when I finally met Mahendra and his family at the hospital it was all worth it."
Mahendra was in the hospital for two weeks and Jones was able to spend a few days with him and his family.
"Even though it was a short visit, I’d bonded with Mahendra and it broke my heart that I may never see him again," she said.
After the operation, Mahendra is thriving and feels positive about his future.
"I had no hope of getting better in life but now I’m ok my dreams have risen up," he said. "I want to be successful in life now."
Sources: The Daily Mail, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke / Photo Credit: The Daily Mail