In a selfish and self-centered world, 47-year-old Seetha Dileep Thampi is a great reminder that humanity still exists. This Kerala-based mother has donated one of her kidneys to a 19-year-old Jayakrishnan, who is not only a complete stranger but also an orphan.
Seetha Dileep, a mother of two girls, lived in Mumbai for almost 30 years. Here she used to work in a private firm. With her husband working in Abu Dhabi, when it became too difficult for her to handle things, she decided to take a break. And with her daughters, she moved to Kerala 11 years ago.
Her strength of character and humanity is quite evident from her kind act of donating her kidney to Jayakrishnan, a resident of Kottayi, a village in Kerala, who was struggling to stay alive because of kidney failure.
Since its inception 6 years ago, Seetha has been part of Daya Charitable Trust. The trust is dedicated to providing medical assistance to the underprivileged among other things. It was through this trust, Seetha got in touch with Jayakrishnan. While sharing her story with TBI, she mentioned:
“Jayakrishnan’s condition was critical and we were informed that if the transplant did not come through the chances of his survival would be really low.”
Recalling his condition, she further added:
“For almost two years, the organisation has been trying to help Jayakrishnan who has been on dialysis since then.”
As the trust was trying to find a suitable donor for Jayakrishnan, the first step was to find someone from his family. But sadly, Jayakrishnan is an orphan who has no family to speak of.
Sharing how Jaykrishnan’s story moved her, she mentioned:
“He is just 18 years old and the thought of losing such a young life was weighing very heavily on all of us. In an attempt to get donors to come forward, we were also willing to provide them with a job and shelter for life but even then we did not find any suitable donor. A video shot by the Trust to find donors for Jayakrishnan arrested my attention. I felt very bad and the fact that no one was coming forward to help him was frustrating and depressing.”
She was so moved by his story that she considered becoming a donor herself. But, she wasn’t alone in this decision. Her decision was fully backed by her whole family. Sharing the details of how her family stood behind her like a wall, she shared:
“During the time I was thinking about becoming a donor, my husband was in town. He only said one thing to me –‘whatever you decide, ensure that it is the final decision. It will be unfair to give that boy hope and then turn away.’ It was with this support that I decided to go ahead.”
Her sister took leave and flew in to be with her during and after the surgery. When she was asked if she was afraid about the procedure, Seetha mentioned:
“I am often asked that but I don’t seem to understand why. There was no fear whatsoever – on the contrary, the wait and the amount of paperwork was more frustrating.”
As Seetha was a third-party donor, the process even took longer. It took almost six months for the things to come through. On the process, she further added:
“I even appeared before an ethics committee and was interviewed to verify my intentions before the go-ahead was given.”
But other than finding a donor, Jayakrishnan needed to raise the funds needed for the surgery. Sharing how they raised funds, Seetha added:
“These procedures are not cheap and we all came together to raise funds. In one day itself, thanks to the people who are part of the Kottayi panchayat, we were able to collect Rs 15 lakhs. The rest came via friends and family.”
In a country, where 2 lakh patients are waiting for organ donation with a mere 15,000 donors available, we are in awe of Seetha’s courage and determination. At IFORHER, we salute her for giving this orphan boy another chance at life. With the act of kindness like Seetha’s, our hope for humanity remains alive.