CHENNAI: In a heartwarming gesture, alumni of Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research have joined hands to start a crowdfunding drive for the medical treatment of a lecturer who is suffering from a life-threatening illness. They have so far raised Rs 44 lakh out of the Rs 4 crore required.
P A Abhinand, 33, who is a lecturer at the institute since 2013, suffers from degenerating type three spinal muscular atrophy. It is a genetic disorder characterized by weakness and wasting of the skeletal muscles due to the loss of specialized nerve cells called motor neurons that control muscle movement.
As a result, he has been wheelchair-bound since the age of 13. “But that did not deter me from pursuing higher education. I did my PhD in bioinformatics at Ramachandra University in 2011 and joined in 2013 as a part-time lecturer. I became a full-time lecturer in 2019,” Abhinand told The New Indian Express.
Despite his illness, he continued teaching and shared a good rapport with all the students of the college. “My condition is severely deteriorating and the treatment expenses for this would cost Rs 72 lakh a year, which I can’t afford. As a result, many alumni of the college decided to begin crowdfunding,” he said.
Dr V Deepa Parvathy, Treasurer, Sri Ramachandra Alumni Association and Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, said Abhinand was her student and was brilliant in academics despite his deteriorating health.
“He excelled in academics and has also done quite a lot of research. We have come forward to support his cause by raising crowdfunding,” she said.
Abhinand, who cannot type on a computer keyboard but can only use voice commands, said his only identity was his research and job and if he loses it, he would have nothing further to look forward to in life. “I am hoping for the best treatment so I can contribute to society through my work,” he added.
Alumni spread across the globe have come together for his cause and some have donated up to 300 US dollars.
The hospital, in a statement, said Abhinand was getting treatment from Dr V Shankar, Senior Consultant, Neurology, SRMC. “Despite his movement restrictions, he has done a doctorate in bioinformatics and is also a passionate researcher with several peer-reviewed publications,” the statement said.
The statement said while there are three life-saving medicines approved for SMA by the US FDA, only one — Evrysdi (Risdiplam) by Roche — is DCGI approved and available currently in India.
The hospital added that Abhinand cannot afford the drug, which costs Rs 72 lakh (including GST) a year. People willing to donate can do so at www.impactguru.com/fundraiser/donate-to-dr-abhinand-ponneri-adithavarman
Funds can also be transferred through NEFT/IMPS to Abhinand Ponneri Adithavarman sb a/c 700701717155416, IFSC code YESB0CMSNOC. For UPI transaction: supportabhinand@yesbankltd.
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