It was during a photography trip in 2013 that Arindam Deywas came across a little girl that both shocked and moved him.
He was exploring northeast India when he entered a village and was met with an astonishing sight – a little girl called Roona Begum whose head was three times the normal size.
He started talking to her parents and learned how they were unable to seek medical attention for their first-born child because they were poor. All they could do was keep her as comfortable as possible and pray for a miracle.
With permission from her parents he took pictures of the little girl and shared them with media outlets. What happened next nobody could have imagined.
Roona was born with hydrocephalus, a potentially fatal illness that results in a build-up of water on the brain, which led to her having trouble seeing, eating and not being able to sit upright or crawl.
As pictures of the toddler were shared around the world donations to help fund her medical treatment came flooding in and more than $60,000 was raised for her.
Eight surgeries were carried out
The money allowed Roona’s parents to pay for surgery which involved the surgical drainage of cerebrospinal fluid away from the brain.
According to the newspaper India Today eight surgeries were carried out between 2013 and 2017 which helped to shrink her head from 37 inches (94 cm) in circumference to 22 inches (58 cm).
In the days that followed her parents saw a complete change in their precious child; she went from being unable to move to a playful and giggly child who could hold her head up and even communicate in short syllables.
In 2014 when she was 5 years old Roona defied all odds and smiled for the first time. Her dad said he was continually amazed at his little girl’s strength in being able to endure such a condition.
‘Always thought she was really strong’
“I didn’t think of her as a sick child. I always thought she was really strong
to endure so much pain,” Abdul said, according to the website Rooting for Roona.
But in 2017 tragedy struck and sweet Roona was rushed to hospital after her parents found her struggling to breathe. Sadly she passed away just a month before she was scheduled to have the final surgery that might have enabled her to walk.
Roona touched the hearts of millions of people around the world. A documentary about her short life was made called Rooting for Roona.
It’s so sad that this little girl passed before receiving the complete transformative surgery that was available to her.
But thank goodness she got some quality of life thanks to the generous donations of all those kind-hearted strangers and the man who was first moved enough to want to help Roona and her family.
Please share to pay tribute to brave Roona and her devoted parents.