Welham’s alumni fund surgery of guard’s son

All of 18, Sandeep Singh took his first steps aided by a walker after a gap of three years on July 14.

Diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder called 'ankylosing spondylitis', the teenager's hip joints were fused into deformity from a rapidly progressing arthritis of major joints in the body.

"I feel reborn," Sandeep, a government school student who was forced to quit his studies mid session in Class XII because of this illness, told Newsline with a smile.

His father Ranjit Singh has been a watchman at Welham Girls' School in Dehradun for the last 35 years. After delaying the surgery for five years when his teenaged son was first diagnosed with the problem, he approached the school authorities for help.

"I took him to AIIMS in in 2006 when his hip problem began and they told me the implants would cost at least Rs 3 lakh. It was impossible for me to arrange that kind of money," Singh said.

Last month, after Sandeep's two hip joints became completely entwined, doctors in Dehradun advised immediate corrective surgery.

"I approached some of the old time teachers at Welham's as they are the only family I have. They told me I should have sought their help much earlier," Singh said.

The boarding school and its alumni association approached Fortis hospital and they funded the surgery which cost nearly Rs. 5 lakh.

Sujata Kulsreshtha, a member of the Welham Girl's Alumni Association, said she immediately decided to help Singh after hearing his story. "I passed from Welham's in 1979 and my daughter is studying there now. We have all known Singh sahab, so we did our best. Fortis hospital also helped us by agreeing to provide 50 per cent of the funds," she added.

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