Pankaj Sethi, 25, a thalassemia major patient, would skip school for days after being bullied in class. "Some of my classmates spread rumours about me saying that I had AIDS and cancer. I got sick of it and had complained to the authorities," said Sethi, who now works in an international travel and tourism company.
Troubled by the unpleasantness in school, Sethi repeated three classes. He decided to take his Class 10 exams privately and cleared them.
When Sethi turned 15, he suffered a blow as he was detected with diabetes owing to an iron overload in the pancreas. Sethi admitted that he got diabetes after he "went easy" on the iron chellators during his teenage years and took his disorder for granted. He fortunately made good friends in college who supported him during this time.
"Since then, I have been taking insulin three times a day apart from administering desferal subcutaneously through the night. I feel bad about compromising with food, something I love," said Sethi.
Despite the health problems, Sethi said that he has not missed out on any of the fun in his life. "My parents were very supportive. They never discriminated between me and my brother, who is normal. I went for cricket, karate and swimming classes during my childhood. I have done bungee jumping, river rafting, bike rides in Pune and Lonavala.”