ERNAKULAM: Arthritis is known to extract a painful toll on patients, reducing the quality of life and well-being drastically. For Navya Rose Thomas, the condition and its inherent pain have been a part of life since early childhood. Affected by systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, a rare disorder that causes arthritis in children,
Navya has battled heavy odds to nourish her passion for teaching. While the 25-year-old Alangad resident aims to touch the lives of her students and bring positive changes in them, her own life serves as an inspiration to all those who know her.
“As a child, I could hardly walk 10-20 steps without someone else’s support,” Navya says. Her journey so far has been a tale of dogged determination. Armed with a master’s in English Literature, and having cleared NET in 2019, she now aspires to be a professor. Striving in that direction, she is busy attending interviews and preparing for the tasks ahead.
“When the realisation strikes that you aren’t normal like other children, and have difficulty in walking, holding things, or sitting upright for long, it is devastating to cope with,” she says. From the age of three, Navya struggled to walk. A fall at 13 worsened things. Her joints were in a very bad shape, seriously affecting her capability for movement. And she had to undergo four major surgeries. For nearly five years, Navya underwent treatment at the CMC, Vellore, later shifting to Amrita Hospital, Kochi.
“She underwent two hip replacements, and surgeries on her arms. But we didn’t want the illness to ruin her future career and life,” recalls Jessy Thomas, her mother. After the surgeries, things slowly improved for her. She is now able to walk without any support.
“Yet, whenever she steps out of the house, we accompany her, just in case she may need support. As she travels by bus, it is difficult for her to climb the steep steps,” her mother points out. Navya has also nurtured her love for classical music. Over the past six years, she has performed on stage on several occasions. “I am continuing with my music lessons online.”