A month and a half ago Srijani Halder had slipped into a coma following the sudden onset of jaundice that irreversibly damaged her liver. Her life-saving liver transplant came in the form of an odd mix of family support and the social network.
While her mother donated a portion of her liver, her friends channelled Facebook to raise around Rs. 18 lakh (Rs 1.8 million) for the procedure.
For 20-year-old Halder, a Kolkata resident, normal college life took a completely unexpected turn when she was diagnosed with jaundice in March-end. As her condition spiralled downward, conventional therapies failed the second year economic honours student at the city's St. Xavier's College.
Time was running out and on May 27, her parents had to face the grim reality - Srijani was in a coma and an urgent liver transplant was essential.
Her mother Babita "did not think twice".
Babita agreed to donate 65 percent of her liverdesire was to save her daughter's life. She was unaware that the liver regenerates to its usual dimensions after a portion is donated.
Meanwhile, as Srijani remained comatose, her batch mates, seniors and teachers launched a massive online campaign via Facebook to raise around Rs.18 lakh of the Rs.22 lakh required for the transplant.
"I am overwhelmed. Facebook is awesome. I have no words to express. The connection between my mother and me has deepened as she has given me around 900 grams of her liver. She has given me a second life as my family and friends have given me a new life," Srijani, who has taken a year off from her college, told IANS.
"I can't imagine what the situation was like while I was in a coma. All I know is that my family, friends and Facebook fought the battle for me," she added.
Posts on Srijani's plight and her father's bank account number were passed on across the social network beginning May 27. The chain of sharing evoked a huge response within a few days, her father Anjan said.
"We raised around Rs.4 lakh but needed the entire amount. The entire cost, including post-operative and pre-operative processes, came close to Rs. 30 lakh. It was her friends who got the momentum going and within the next few days, the money was available," Anjan told IANS.
The entire episode has shown Srijani's father a fresh side of social networking.
"Not only did our relatives and acquaintances chip in, funds flowed in from people who were complete strangers. This is what attracted me the most about Facebook. I am truly grateful," said Anjan, an employee of a nationalised bank.
While the set of precautions for her mother are not much, Srijani has been advised extreme caution for the next six months to prevent any infection.
"She was previously treated in two other hospitals. Then she came to us. The challenge was all the more because it was an acute case (viral Hepatitis A infection) and in such sudden cases, there is no time to plan. We did all the things within 36 hours," gastroenterologist Mahesh Goenka of Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, under whom Srijani was admitted, told IANS.
"This was the first such liver transplant in eastern India in an acute setting," he added.