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April 14, 2007

The people's President does it again

From: Hindu, India - Apr 14, 2007

Bindu Shajan Perappadan

NEW DELHI: The people's President has done it again. The ever popular role model, especially among children, has as a special gesture sanctioned Rs. 14.5 lakh from the President's Discretionary Grant for tiny tots who have been on the waiting list for cochlear implant surgery at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital here.

Selecting the youngest children from among the list of 40 patients submitted to him, the President's "gift'' promises to give them a new lease of life.

The select list of eight children includes Garv Gupta, Tushar Lalwani and Priyanka from Delhi. All the eight children are under four years, which is when the cochlear implant has the highest success rate.

Speaking about President Kalam's gesture, Senior Specialist and Head of Lohia Hospital's ENT Unit J. M. Hans said: "I got an opportunity to present the special needs of the children on my list to the President and he has been very kind to select the youngest on the list for whom the surgery will prove most beneficial. The President will pay the pending difference in the amount that their families have to pay for the implant. It is a huge help for these children.''

"At present we have 15 children awaiting surgery and over 30 who need assistance to pay for the implant. The implant works best on young children who with assistance can learn to hear and speak and go on to lead a normal life. We are now asking business houses for assistance as there are several children who need financial help and the earlier these children get their implants the better their chance of being able to lead a normal life,'' added Dr. Hans.

President Kalam in his letter has also instructed that in case the money sanctioned by him cannot be used for the indicated case it might well be used for any other needy child.

And while the children who are now getting ready for their operations may not be aware of the help from the First Citizen, their parents admit that the gesture has overwhelmed them.

Says Garv Gupta's mother Preeti Gupta: "Though our entire extended family has come together to help us financially, we haven't been able to put together the money needed for the child's surgery. Also, as my child gets older it will get more difficult for him to re-adjust and lead a normal life. Now with help from the President, Garv will finally get a chance to grow up as a normal child. We can't thank the President enough.''

© 2007, The Hindu.