Athirampuzha residents raise Rs 91 lakhs in 5 hours for boy’s treatment – The New Indian Express

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Express press service

KOTTAYAM: An attempt to raise funds for a six-year-old boy’s bone marrow transplant received a tremendous welcome from the people of Athirampuzha panchayat in Kottayam. While the panchayat aimed to collect Rs 30 lakh for Jerome K Justine’s medical expenses, the ride raised a whopping Rs 91 lakh in just five hours on Sunday. The door-to-door campaign has proven to be more successful than the digital crowdfunding model, the most popular choice for such initiatives these days.

The beauty of the fundraising exercise was that all families in the panchayat, regardless of their financial status, came together to support a family in distress. The panchayat has now decided to set aside the excess amount of nearly Rs 61 lakh for similar medical expenses of others in the region. “The response has been overwhelming,” said Athirampuzha panchayat president Biju Valiyamala.

Jerome, who is due to enter the world of letters in the next academic year, was diagnosed with blood cancer seven months ago and was advised to undergo treatment consisting of bone marrow replacement, he said. he declares. “However, the family did not have the financial capacity to raise the money. So the Athirampuzha panchayat took up the matter and decided to seek the help of the people. The idea was to carry out a door-to-door campaign through squads created in each neighborhood,” said Biju, who represents the neighborhood where Jerome’s family resides.
The campaign ran from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. involving 108 squads in the 22 panchayat wards.

The campaign was led by the Athirampuzha Jeevan Raksha Samithi, a committee formed to increase medical aid, in association with the charity Changanassery Prathyasha.
Justin Varghese, the boy’s father, runs a small grocery store in the neighborhood and was struggling to organize the money, Biju said.

Led by a neighborhood member, the squads had seven members each, and leaflets were printed and distributed to residents. The panchayat even organized vehicles to advertise the campaign. “Although there is no upper limit for donations, it was decided to maintain a lower limit of Rs 500. But the way the money was given shows that every family in the panchayat came together to save the child,” said John Joseph Parapurathu, the general animator of the Athirampuzha Jeevan Raksha Samithi.

Jerome’s treatment has already started in a hospital in Kozhikode. “The first step is to completely destroy the existing bone marrow in his body and then transplant a healthy one. He is undergoing radiation therapy,” Biju explained.

The money was deposited in the cooperative bank in the name of the panchayat president, vice president and the organizer of the Samithi, he said. “The cost of the treatment will be released as the hospital sends the bill,” Biju added.

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