Northdale family overwhelmed by donations for boy’s treatment

2019-02-27 16:18
Urav Ramdhin (3) will finally get stem cell treatment at a hospital in Mumbai, India, next month after the community banded together to raise funds. PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

Urav Ramdhin (3) will finally get stem cell treatment at a hospital in Mumbai, India, next month after the community banded together to raise funds. PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

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A Northdale family received a massive boost to get their child with Down Syndrome the treatment he needs after the community banded together to raise funds. 

The parents of three-year-old Urav Ramdhin were presented with R78 000 at a special assembly at Raisethorpe Secondary School on Tuesday.

The school, which one of Urav’s siblings attends, has donated R52 000 toward the treatment. They were joined by the Midlands Golf Club, which donated R21 000, and the Family Aid Fund, which gave R5 000.

The school’s deputy principal, Prega Gounden, who is also captain of the golf club, co-ordinated the fundraising campaign.

Urav’s parents plan to take him to a hospital in India for a specialist stem cell treatment in an attempt to improve his cognitive abilities.

Urav’s mother, Usha, said the family was overwhelmed with the generosity shown by the community. “We are in total shock. We started fundraising last November without any support and raised about R50 000, but the school has taken it to a different level.”

She said Urav will head off with her and his father, Pranil, to the hospital in Mumbai next month.

He will be treated over seven days.

Doctors will identify areas in Urav’s brain that are under or overactive and will inject stem cells into his spine.

“He needs two rounds of treatment, six months apart,” Usha explained. “And when we come back he will need to have occupational and speech therapy — more expenses for us.”

She said they need about R74 000 more for Urav’s treatment.

“When he was about eight months old I did a lot of research on treatments but I found the stem cell option to be too expensive. But last year I got the idea to try fundraising.”

She said she had met renowned neurosurgeon Dr Alok Sharma last year when he was in Pietermaritzburg promoting stem cell treatments. He advised that it would be best to perform the treatment before Urav turns five.

“Our hope is that he can attend a mainstream school and live a normal life like other children,” Usha said.

Raisethorpe Secondary principal Indran Pillay said Urav and his parents were introduced to the school and pupils and staff were encouraged to donate to his cause. He said he and deputy principal Gounden had run the fund­raising at the Midlands Golf Club.

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