Creating awareness about Multiple Sclerosis - My Take
In 2009, I was a 29-year-old managerial executive in Bengaluru with a young son. After a persistent high fever and hospitalization, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
My husband Guruprasad and I had no idea what MS was. It is a weakening disease whose causes are still being researched. There is a total loss of movement. I could not manage my daily activities independently.
While in rehabilitation, I decided to fight back and work towards making a difference in others' lives. By 2014, we had moved to Coimbatore and started the Swarga Foundation.
Swarga's mission is to improve the lives of individuals with MS and other neuro-muscular disorders. We try to do this by increasing public awareness and changing attitudes towards people with disabilities. Our vision is for an inclusive society where people have access to all opportunities to live a complete life.
We hold awareness programs at many academic institutions. We counsel patients suffering from MS and their families about disease management, and lifestyle changes.
Swarga also gives financial help to patients who cannot afford good medical care, mobility aids, therapy or hospitalization.
In October 2015, Swarga launched the calendar titled I'm Special 2016 featuring six differently-abled individuals from Coimbatore who were achievers in their areas of interest. A video on the calendar was also released on YouTube.
In October this year, Swarga released the calendar for 2017 with 12 people with disabilities from across India who have achieved significantly. All proceeds from the sales of the calendars will be used for ongoing projects.
With the funds, we have bought a vehicle that will take people with disabilities to any destination of choice. It is called Sarathi and it is a Tata Winger van modified to hold an accessible chemical toilet, a sofa bed, three seats and a foldable wheelchair ramp for easy access.
Sarathi will be available from 1 November at Coimbatore between 7am to 8pm everyday.
About the Writer
Swarnalatha J is the managing trustee of Swarga Foundation which works towards creating awareness and providing support to people with Multiple Sclerosis and other neuro-muscular disorders. To order the calendar, visit the website or call 96001 52849 / 97902 73063.