Fate has always been said to turn life upside down and lead one on wild and unexpected journeys, creating turmoil and trouble along the way. Ashoke was one such victim who fell prey to a cruel joke of fate. Children are the most treasured assets in a parent’s life. Ashoke B. Gamage (2463) and his wife,Y. Jayanthimala were overjoyed to hear that they were going to be parents to quadruplets. Little did they know that a series of unfortunate events were in store for them. On December 9, 2003, Jayanthimala gave birth at a local hospital, not to quadruplets as expected, but to twins. Unfortunately, the third baby had a still birth and the fourth baby was never born at all. This was not the end of their misery, however.
Their second born, Akindhu B. Gamage was placed in an incubator due to him being underweight. What was unusual was that he contracted meningitis during his incubation. After having been given the vaccination against meningitis, Akindhu’s eighth cranial nerve-the auditory nerve-was damaged, which led to bilateral hearing loss. Ashoke believes that this unfortunate event was the aftermath of an overdose of the vaccination. While other babies could dose off to the lullabies sung by their parents, Akindhu had to fall asleep to nothing but complete silence.
"My job alone cannot bear the expenses of my son’s education, operation and monthly expenses. The operation itself costs Rs.3.6 million"
Akindhu (2478, 2469) became a patient suffering from bilateral hearing loss during the first few years of his life. In April 9, 2007, he underwent surgery for the first time for a cochlear implant to revive hearing in his right ear. But fate had always played games with Akindhu and this time was no different. The cochlear implant device installed during the first surgery had become deactivated with time and a second surgery was called for. Left with no other option but to undergo surgery again to repair the cochlear implant, Akindhu faced surgery for the second time on the April 11, 2011. Both surgeries were performed at Lanka hospitals. Now a third surgery is at hand to revive hearing in Akindhu’s left ear, which is also to be conducted at Lanka hospitals under Dr. Devanand Jha, Consultant ENT Surgeon. The second surgery took a toll on Ashoke’s finances.
Having paid for the previous surgeries with the greatest difficulty, Ashoke has been left helpless and unable to raise money for his son’s surgery which is required urgently. “My job alone cannot bear the expenses of my son’s education, operation and monthly expenses. The operation itself costs Rs. 3.6 million. This is why I’m relating my story to the kind public because I’m desperately in need of assistance”, said Ashoke with eyes full of tears. Ashoke is currently employed as a management assistant at the Ministry of Health at the Medical Supplies division of Colombo. Ashoke beseeches the public to make his dream of Akindhu regaining his hearing a reality. It isn’t just the expenses of the surgery that are a burden. In addition to the surgery, the cochlear implant system that Akindhu currently uses to hear through his right ear, the freedom processing unit and the N5 processing unit are in need of renewal and replacement of accessories, which would call for about Rs.238,100. If not replaced soon, Akindhu faces the possibility of losing hearing in his right ear again.
"I’m skilled in the field of photography and video and want to train my son to be the best in these fields too. But I haven’t got the equipment to train him. My son is quite talented. He has also won first place in an all-island art competition on a previous occasion"
Akindhu B. Gamage
On top of all these expenses, Akindhu’s monthly training in speech therapy which helps him identify and learn different sounds demands Rs.16,000 monthly. Since all these expenses are at hand, Ashoke had no option but to turn to the public, requesting financial assistance. No matter how many obstacles and barriers have been thrust his way, Ashoke does not feel discouraged. They say idle hands are the devil’s handiwork and not wanting to completely rely on donations, he is determined to create an additional source of income to provide financial stability to pay for his son’s expenses. So he requests a grant from appropriate companies that would allow him to sell DVDs on Buddhism that display different religious places in India and Sri Lanka, explaining their religious significance in relation to Lord Buddha as well as educational software that educates the user on the English language. In the hope of creating a stable future for his son, Ashoke had been planning to train Akindhu to follow a career in the field of photography. That hope was also shattered as Ashoke was forced to sell his photography equipment to bear expenses of Akindhu’s previous surgeries. “I’m skilled in the field of photography and video and want to train my son to be the best in these fields too. But I haven’t got the equipment to train him. My son is quite talented. He has also won first place in an all-island art competition on a previous occasion…”
He holds a bank account under the name Ashoke B. Gamage at the Seylan bank, Borella branch, Colombo 8, bearing the account number 082001964396-101, swift code-SEYBLKLX and telephone-0775035666/0775086535. As a father, Ashoke’s attempts to try to create a brighter tomorrow for Akindhu are commendable. He directs his details for further enquiries and information, in the hope of finding a generous donor willing to lend him a helping hand.
Pics by: Kushan Pathiraj