December 25, 2021 – Chiranjeevi Bhava – Gifting lives to children on the holy and auspicious occasion of Christmas 2021
Every year around three lakh children are born in India with congenital heart disease (CHD). CHD is the largest cause for infant mortality in India. Dedicated to address this national burden, Sri Sathya Sai Sarla Memorial Hospital commenced paediatric cardiac surgeries in its 150-bedded multi-disciplinary facility with an indomitable spirit to cure children with congenital heart diseases.
Ever since the month of November 2021 till date, the Hospital has mended about 55 little hearts with a magnanimous heart that charged no fee, in collaboration with its partner – Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Centres for Child Heart Care which currently has three centres at Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Navi Mumbai. In the month of December 2021 alone, in a span of nine days, 32 surgeries have been completed by a 20-member healthcare team consisting of paediatric cardiac surgeons, anaesthetists, cardiologists, technicians and paramedical staff of the Operation Theatre and ICU Management, who came together from Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Centre for Child Heart Care at Atal Nagar Nava Raipur, Chhattisgarh to provide the ‘gift of life’ to these 32 children. These children were coming from the really deserving underprivileged families from Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, who underwent the initial screening at their respective States, conducted by the Divine Mother and Child Health Program team and were subsequently brought in for the surgery at Sri Sathya Sai Sarla Memorial Hospital. The spectrum of cases conducted ranged from simple to complex conditions that required high quality paediatric and neonatal intensive care and allied health support services like physiotherapy, nutrition, radiology, and lab services. The day of Christmas that is celebrated to eulogise the spirit of harmony, love, joy, and selfless giving, sent forth the message of universal love and service to all of humanity from Sathya Sai Grama, where the blessing of a long life – ‘Chiranjeevi Bhava’ through the ‘Gift of Life’ ceremony was bestowed on 32 children who have been given a new life, a new beginning, in the Divine presence of Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai ! Dr Padma S Veerapaneni, Chief Neurologist and Director of KIMS Hospital, Hyderabad and Chairman of RiSE Foundation, India was the Guest of Honour at the event. Mr Prahlad D N, Non-Executive Chairperson of Surya Software Systems Pvt Ltd was also present at the event along with the Chairman of Sri Sathya Sai Health and Education Trust, Mr C Sreenivas.
The event started with a heart-rending video that captured the condition of children who were operated and cured. Dr Ragini Pandey, Senior Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon from Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Centre for Child Heart Care, Atal Nagar Nava Raipur, Chhattisgarh, who was instrumental in treating and mending the 32 little hearts, presented a short synopsis of the various cases of the children and their backgrounds. Later, the ‘Gift of Life’ certificates were presented to all the children. A fifteen-year-old boy, who received the treatment, expressed his heart by saying, “In the way Lord Krishna had two mothers, mother Devaki and mother Yashoda, I too have two of them—one who gave birth to me and another gave a new life to me.” (referring to Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai). Thereafter, the surgeons, medical, and paramedical team were felicitated for rendering such a marvellous selfless service.
Mr Prahlad D N in his speech said that he did not believe Mr C Sreenivas when he spoke to him about the hospital initially. It is only after coming in person to witness this service that he truly believes now that there are selfless people in the world still. He made an appeal to all the students to work hard and walk the path of selfless service to make India a stronger nation.
Dr Padma Veerapaneni shared her thoughts by saying that the children who underwent the surgery looked so healthy and bright, that too considering the criticality of the cases that were handled. She also said that after having a look at the state-of-the-art equipment, the entire medical team and the children, she felt that it was nothing less than a miracle which manifested right in front of her eyes! In her own words: “I wish all the children who received ‘gift of life’ good health and a long life. I congratulate the team for going beyond all limitations to make this ‘gift of life’ happen. True motivation for all this, I believe is coming from Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai Himself. The education, healthcare and nutrition activities carried out by Sadguru is truly mind blowing and I am interested to know more and work hand in hand.”
Mr C Sreenivas in his speech conveyed how blessed the day was and that it will be one of the unforgettable days of his life.
Here’s to quote the words of Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai from His benedictory message on the Christmas evening, _“Since morning, there were so many messages pouring in from around the world filled with greetings and wishes for the festival of Christmas. I don’t think Christmas could have been merrier, happier and holier than what it is today, here. It is holy not only because of the birth of Jesus Christ but also because so many children got a new lease of life—they are reborn today in this hallowed place. It is merrier not only because we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, who showed us the way of love and sacrifice, but it is indeed merrier because here and now, we are actually practicing the message of Christ by having served these little children and their families. So many parents came with so much of sorrow, anxiety in their hearts, and now they are going back with so much of happiness in their hearts. This is the reason why this Christmas has become happier than ever before.
I don’t have much to advice, much to preach. I only have few words of gratitude to all those who have worked tirelessly, to make sure this Christmas is special—to Dr Ragini Pandey and her very capable, efficient and hardworking team, who have worked tirelessly round the clock. Our gratitude to all of you who have worked behind the scenes! To our Sri Sathya Sai Sarla Memorial team, which is a fledgling team – collective gratitude from our side, and from all those parents who are blessed to have their children back in their arms! I would be failing in my duty if I don’t express my gratitude to all the devotees and followers, who on one call extended their help for this noble cause. For all those know, in the month of March there was absolutely nothing over the place where the Hospital stands today. And today we are in the month of December and already we have had two sets of paediatric cardiac surgeries conducted. All the devotees who rallied around this cause, sacrificed much more than their means to ensure that this Hospital comes up well in time and it is world class, with all its equipment, infrastructure, manpower, and this is how it is a world class hospital of the gold standard today. It is free, but world class. Most of the times free is synonymous with substandard. This is not the case here—we are free yet we provide world class facilities.
Every child has three fundamental rights – right to education, right to nutrition and right to good health. It is the responsibility of the entire society to make sure that every child is able to have an access to these. It is not just the problem of the parents, but it is the societal responsibility. This is what we are working towards. Mother and Child Healthcare is our forte. In Telangana, near Kondapaka we are coming up with a Mother and Child Centre and I’ll be visiting Telangana in January 2022 to begin the services. Right now, there is a clinic, but over a period of time, a hospital will come up. This would be our very first foot print of healthcare in Telangana State.
Lives of all great men make our lives sublime and they leave behind foot prints of their messages on the sands of time. The foot prints of Sri Sathya Sai Baba—Love and Service are guiding us to our own divine destiny. We are all walking in His footsteps not only to attain the divine realisation within, but also to realise that everything and everyone is divine.
Wishing you all a holy, happy and merry Christmas!”_