BENGALURU: On Sunday, Shilpa MN (16), a polio patient, sent a tweet from her father’s phone, seeking Rs 90,000 for a Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis (KAFO) brace. It spans the knee, ankle and foot, helps stabilise the joints and assist the muscles of her leg. “I want to walk like all. I want to go to school like all. Please help me. I was operated for my spine but now my legs need treatment. Kindly help me,” read her tweet which she has been posting since November 1. This time, she tagged Telangana minister KT Ramarao (KTRoffice).
It was a desperate measure — but finally, she got what she wanted. The minister’s office responded immediately over twitter, and called on her mother’s mobile and took down details regarding the treatment. “They asked me to send across bills, doctors’ numbers, my residence address and school details on WhatApp. I did,” Shilpa said. After this, the office reportedly called Shilpa and assured her of help.
The young girl is over the moon. Her father, a daily wage labourer, had with great difficulty paid Rs 20,000 as advance to the clinic, and is now due to pay Rs 90,000 more for the brace.
She even tried to meet Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, but received a cold response.
“Every day, my mother carries me to anywhere I need to go, even to the bathroom. Thanks to Mahesh Babu anna, I am now able to at least sit up and not lie like a vegetable. But I want to be independent and go to college without anyone’s help,” she says. Shilpa is in Class 10 at a government English school in Konappana Agrahara in Electronics City.
Dr Sumanth Kumar, Clinical Prosthetic and Orthosis, who is getting the brace for her, said, “She is a bright and confident girl. If this automated KAFO brace if fixed, she will need no help to assist her as there is an automatic lock system which will help her walk independently. She also needs one injection every week,” he explained.
Shilpa told TNIE about her journey through polio and later her thoraco lumbar kyphoscoliosis with myelomengicocle malformation along with paralytic scoliosis in her spinal cord, which needed two surgeries costing nearly Rs 10 lakh.“It was actor Mahesh Babu who like real hero helped me. He is like God to me. I had tweeted a year earlier about my condition and how I needed Rs 10 lakh for treatment. First his wife called me and then he himself spoke to me. Then, Mahesh anna’s assistant came and helped me for my surgery,” she explained.
The doctors who treated her were Dr Sathyanarayana, consultant neurosurgeon and spine surgeon of Narayana Health City, and Dr Naveen Tahsildar of Sparsh Hospital. After the two complicated surgeries, Shilpa is no longer glued to her bed, she can sit up in a wheelchair, and even goes to school on it.