My father who is 59 Years old, is a government employee and works for the South Central Railways and resides in Hyderabad, India. He has 4 children - me & my three sisters (Shivani, Neha & Pooja Ghalke). He has been a widower for the last 14.5 years, but has never remarried as he never looked to find Love again, since losing his childhood sweetheart, our beloved mother (Dipika Ghalke)
He’s always been a Happy go Lucky type of man, enjoying life to the fullest and playing the role of both a mother and father for the last 15 years.
However, in late August 2018, my father had been diagnosed with Decompensated Cirrhosis, which is a chronic liver disease that causes severe scarring of the liver to the point where it can’t function anymore. As part of this, he has exhibited various symptoms in the last couple of months including Jaundice (yellowing of the skin & eyes), Ascites (fluids building up in the abdomen, ankles & legs), Esophageal Varices, Hyponatremia (abnormally low sodium levels), Hepatic Encephalopathy (forgetfulness & mental confusion), Nausea, Fever & Loss of Appetite.
He has also lost about 25 Kgs of his body weight in a matter of 2 months and is fatigued all the time.
It’s just heartbreaking to watch him battle through all of this.
But our Dad is a fighter and the strongest person we have ever known. He has been our pillar of strength, support and our biggest cheerleader through all our successes. When we lost our mom to lung cancer in Jan-2004, it was dad who helped us cope with the pain. But right now, he is fighting with this disease and we would do anything to save his life.
After taking multiple opinions from various hospitals/clinics, he is currently being treated at the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, one of the best hospitals in Asia for Liver transplants. The doctors here have advised us that the only solution to probably save his life is to get a Liver Transplant surgery done within 12-14 weeks since diagnosis, otherwise the chances of his mortality in the next 6 months are as high as 70-80%. Because of his rare blood group (AB+) & the huge number of people on the waiting list of cadaver liver donation, the chances of him getting a liver from a brain-dead or a deceased person in the next couple of months are very remote.
Therefore, we have decided to go ahead with the Live Donor Liver Transplant, where I’ve volunteered to be the primary Donor. It was overwhelming to see all my 3 sisters wanting to donate their livers for his recovery, but for many reasons I have asked them to be the secondary donors, in case my father’s body rejects my liver. I’m so glad I’m able to give dad the greatest gift of all – the Gift of Life. Many people don’t realize that, unlike other organs, the liver can regenerate & can grow back to full size within few months.
I understand that this is a very complicated procedure and there’s a 5% chance that I, as the donor, may not come back alive from the surgery to see my family/friends/loved ones ever again, but I also understand that there’s a 85-90% chance that my father’s life could be saved as part of this. Given these odds, I made the decision of being the donor in a heartbeat and I know every single member in my family would do the same.
We are very lucky to have a family where all of our siblings’ life partners (Somasree Mukherjee, Kiran Kollabathula, Shriram Sukumaran & Varun Goel) have been completely supportive of this.
I’m also extremely grateful to my employer (Sun Life Financials) and specially my boss, Rob Abela, who have gone above and beyond to ensure I spend this difficult period of time in India with my family, without having to take a huge financial impact on my daily livelihood.
But the whole Live Donor Liver Transplant does come at a tremendous cost, because it now involves both of us undergoing these long complicated surgeries and therefore the medical expenses involved have doubled than what we had originally anticipated/budgeted for.
We have created this fundraising page because so many friends and family members have asked how they can help us.
It is fairly difficult for us to write openly about our father and ask for help. Any donation would be greatly appreciated and will be used towards the medical expenses, lifelong medication and recovery expenses. If you can’t donate, please send your good thoughts and prayers. We appreciate all your kindness and support at this difficult time.
We look forward to my father becoming a healthy and productive member of the society once again.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story. Please share this to continue to spread the word and save my dad’s life!
-Pankaj, Shivani, Neha & Pooja Ghalke
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