KOCHI:She is always vivacious, like a gurgling stream, speaking with joyous abandon and a sense of optimism which is unparalleled. The wheelchair doesn’t limit Veena Venugopal, a native of Kodungalloor. Nor does the rare genetic spinal muscular atrophy prevent her from dreaming high. This 25-year-old has woven her dreams around becoming a television host.
All Veena can remember is the numerous falls she had when she was young. She later had to get accustomed to such falls when she quickened her pace. “That was how it was when I was small. I used to fall and the doctors would dismiss it saying kids fall all the time. And that it will go away,” recalls Veena.
But it did not go away, only to worsen gradually until one day it was diagnosed as the rare genetic disorder, spinal muscular atrophy. But it has only been a few years since she understood her medical condition in its true sense. “For months, I was depressed,” says Veena.
It was people battling the same medical condition that helped her. “There is a group called Mobility in Dystrophy’ (MIND). A few of the members helped me by motivating me,” she says. And that helped her stay afloat.It has been one year since she started being completely dependent on a wheelchair. But she has just emerged stronger, with an indomitable spirit to surmount all obstacles.
It was watching the show of Pakistani television host Muniba Mazari, who is differently abled, that gave her a ray of hope. And that was how she set her eyes on becoming a television host. “I want to break the limits. By moving into the media, I get to reach out to more people and create awareness about this medical condition as well,” says Veena who has had to face the brunt of doctors who were oblivious of the repercussions of the medical condition.
“Till date, there is no cure for this disease. All one can do is continue working and using the faculties one can. Because, once you stop, you are just aiding the progress of the disease,” she says. “When I was diagnosed, neither my family nor I knew anything about this condition. Had we known, we could have done something to halt its progress,” she adds.“Or maybe, I am here, in this situation, so I could help someone. And that is why I yearn to become a television host,” she adds cheerfully.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy
A genetic disease affecting the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement
‘Mobility in Dystrophy’ (MIND), a trust formed for those suffering the condition, create awareness of the condition and fight for their rights