Neelu, a 21-year-old Class 12 student from Vanjanwala village in Ajnala, is waiting for the day when she is able to lead a normal life. The young woman, daughter of a daily wager couple, Sukhwant and Zeenat, is suffering from a damaged heart valve, and even breathing normally is quite a task for her, let alone pursuing studies.
"She could not complete her studies in time owing to ill health. While girls her age get married and settle down with their families, Neelu faces problems completing the simplest of chores without her parents' help as one of the valves of her heart is damaged," said Father Robby, who brought the distraught girl and her family to the office of Hindustan Times to make an appeal to the public for help.
He said that due to her inability to breathe properly at times, Neelu's lips and fingers often turn blue. He said the family of four, comprising Neelu, her parents and her younger brother, was so poor that they could barely make ends meet. Father Robby said the girl required immediate valve replacement, which costs around Rs 2 lakh, but she was unable to avail the treatment as her family could not afford to pay for the surgery.
"They barely manage to arrange for their monthly rations and Neelu's medicines out of their meager earnings," he said.
The girl's family and Father Robby later met Dr HS Pannu, a cardiologist who is here to conduct heart-valve replacement surgeries at Carewell Heart and Super-Speciality Hospital.
"Dr Pannu said he would waive off Rs 1.50 lakh. However, the family is still unable to pay the remaining amount and needs help," said Father Robby.
Those interested in helping Neelu may contact Father Robby on his mobile number 97791-21199.