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An unusual birthday gift

An unusual birthday gift

Published:22 July 2021

# Lima Varghese

The 80th birthday of Rita K Lakhani, the wife of Hongkong-based Philanthropist of Indian Origin Kan H Lakhani, was something very special.

Bhopal | The 80th birthday of Rita K Lakhani, the wife of Hongkong-based Philanthropist of Indian Origin Kan H Lakhani, was something very special. Mr. Lakhani asked his wife what gift she preferred for her birthday and the answer surprised him. She asked him for sponsorship of heart operations for 80 poor patients who cannot afford to have heart surgeries. It is reported that Lakhani contacted a well-known cardiac surgeon at a heart specialty hospital in Bangalore. The cardiac surgeon appreciated his request saying “Lakhani you are in fact a messenger of God for poor heart patients.”
Rita Lakhani understood the plight of a large number of poor people with cardiac disease who are in need of surgical intervention or an invasive procedure. It was her altruism and sensitivity towards such people that prompted her to ask for such a wonderful birthday gift for the deserving people. Kudos to Mrs. Rita Lakhani!
Cardiac disease is a major health issue in India. Heart disease includes any kind of disease that affects the heart.  That could be heart failure, angina, arrhythmia, valvular heart disease, and Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Cardiovascular Disease and Coronary Heart Disease are two medical conditions related to the cardiovascular system. CVD refers to a group of diseases related to the heart and blood vessels. Coronary artery disease is one of these diseases.
A study by The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) reported that the estimated mortality from CAD in India was 1.6 million in 2000. An extrapolation of this estimate shows the current burden of CAD in India to be more than 32 million patients. In 2016, the prevalence of CVDs in India was estimated to be 54.5 million. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) have now become the leading cause of mortality in India. A quarter of all mortality is attributable to CVDs.
Against the backdrop of the enormous rise in CVDs, India is well advanced in the availability of better cardiology facilities and dedicated cardiac centers. India has made a big leap in the fields of interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery in recent times.
However, high treatment costs are a major hurdle for the economically deprived sections for availing of medical facilities. They often have to rely on government hospitals, which are situated in metros and have long waiting lists, causing an inordinate delay in treatment. Unfortunately, many patients die while being on the long waiting list.
It is a life-giving gift that Mrs. Lakhani gave away on her 80th birthday. She did not opt for the usual high-level parties or costly dress or ornaments. She has set a noble example for others to follow. There is a need for multiplying persons like Mrs. Lakhani by motivating young people to be altruistic and sensitive to the needy and the underprivileged sections of society.
The Universal Solidarity Movement (USM) for Value Education for Peace has been making efforts in this direction for the last 28 years. Many students after completing one week of leadership training in the USM take decisions to celebrate their birthday with the inmates of an orphanage or an old age home or utilize the money they used to spend for parties to provide study materials to the economically backward students. They all report that they feel happier by sharing their resources with the needy than spending money lavishly for birthday parties. 


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