Fourteen-year-old Muthukumar of Coimbatore had only one desire in life: to be an army man. He joined the NCC and was a very active cadet.
He’d take his chest and height measurements regularly to see if he met with the qualifications to join the army. It was then that he was diagnosed with cancer of the blood.
But Muthukumar saw his wish come true. He got to visit a local army unit wearing the army uniform. Here he was greeted by the officers and it was here that he got to hold an AK47.
Muthukumar never bothered about his disease anymore. He slept with the treasured uniform under his pillow every night till he passed away two months later.
It was a team of volunteers from Make-a-Wish Foundation, Coimbatore that helped Muthukumar make his biggest dream come true.
“He became a hero overnight,” recalls Bindu Rajiv, programme coordinator at the Coimbatore branch. It was seven years ago that the Coimbatore unit came into being, thanks to Bindu, who comes from Kottayam.
“I had read so much about the Foundation and I wanted to be a part of it. That’s when I found out there was no unit in Coimbatore. I got in touch with the national unit and they asked me to start a unit in Coimbatore. That’s how it all began. The first three years, it was very hard, with very few hospitals and doctors having heard of the concept. Later Air Commodore M. Vania joined as our honorary director. Seven years down the line, we are now running well, though we are one of the smallest units in India. We get to make around 10 to 15 wishes come true every month while the Mumbai unit fulfills about 200.”
The beginning of the Foundation was in the US 34 years ago when a woman called Linda lost her child Chris Greicius to cancer.
However the seven-year-old had his biggest dream of becoming a police officer come true.
It was a US customs officer Tommy Austin who helped them do it. After Chris’s departure, the police officers who helped him realise his dream, thought that the same should be done for other children who suffered from terminal illnesses.
Thus was born Make-a-Wish. It was a couple Mr and Mrs Joshi who got to help their cancer-suffering child realise his dream of seeing Disney World that set up the Foundation in India.
Cases from Kerala too have reached Bindu. A terminally ill child of nine from Thrissur (whose name has to be protected because he was also HIV positive) wanted to meet Mohan Lal.
The Coimbatore team took him to the sets of Madamby where he met the star, and others like Innocent, KPAC Lalitha and Kavya Madhavan.
“On the way back, we stopped at a small tea shop to have tea and the child insisted that he would pay the bill. In his wallet were two photos — of Lord Guruvayurappan and of Mohan Lal. He told me ‘They are both the same to me’. And I could only marvel at his innocence,” Bindu recalls.
The Foundation started its Kochi unit in May this year. “We hope to start making dreams come true as soon as possible,” Bindu says.
Category: Cinema News
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