From PWD to CA: A Story of Dreaming Unlimited
This story is a part of Wings of Wealth 4 U (WoW4U), a unique campaign with a cause, and a joint initiative by HerMoneyTalks and MF Utilities. In this story series, we profile the unsung heroines of India who have battled unprecedented odds to not just survive but to conquer.
The preconceived notion in society about physically handicapped people is that they can’t achieve anything in life.
Meet Preethu Jayaprakash, a person with disability who proved society wrong.
Living in Kuttanad in Kerala, a small village that she calls home, Preethu didn’t give in to people’s perceptions about her. She fought back with determination. Hers is a story of a fighter who went from being physically challenged to becoming a true blue Chartered Accountant (CA).
My mother is a housewife and it was not possible for her to send both kids to school everyday.
Preethu’s story of tenaciousness began with her brother’s birth. The symptoms of a strange disease were first noticed in Preethu’s brother. Even after 2 years of being born, he was unable to walk. And then, Preethu was born. She had the same symptoms and couldn’t achieve the growth in 6 months a normal child would have.
Their parents consulted a lot of doctors, yet no one could recognize the disease. Eventually, Preethu’s parents were thunderstruck to know that their children are suffering from a rare genetic disorder called SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy).
This was a disease that caused weakness and atrophy in the body’s muscles. However, at that time, there was no medicine available for the disorder, so the doctors could only suggest physiotherapy.
My focus is on the 25% of my body that is active, and wants to think about being happy and break those stereotypes around me.
Being a police officer, Preethu’s father worked unpredictable hours. “My mother is a housewife and it was not possible for her to send both kids to school everyday. The transportation facility was very poor in my village,” recalls Preethu.
Thus, brother and sister were homeschooled. The tutors and students would come after school to give updates and Preethu would go to school only for examinations.
Preethu lost her brother, who was her best friend as well, when he was 16 years old. Needless to add, the loss was unimaginable.
I was the topper in every class and did everything from her home. Teachers were really supportive, and after school, I joined a B.Com Course.
Brave Preethu is currently 75% disabled but she doesn’t want to think about her disability, or live life worrying about her weakness. “My focus is on the 25% of my body that is active, and wants to think about being happy and break those stereotypes around me,” says Preethu confidently.
“I was the topper in every class and did everything from her home. Teachers were really supportive, and after school, I joined a B.Com Course,” reveals Preethu.
Some of her friends were going for the CPT exam for CA entrance. Even after 3-4 attempts, they couldn’t clear it but Preethu cleared it in the first attempt. She knew that clearing this exam was somehow the gateway to a better life. It would get her acceptance in society and be an inspiration for everyone to push beyond their limitations.
My father’s eyes were filled with tears when I passed my CA Exam. It was the first time after my brother’s death. He hugged me and told me that he’s proud of me.
She recalls her happiest memory: “My father’s eyes were filled with tears when I passed my CA Exam. It was the first time after my brother’s death. He hugged me and told me that he’s proud of me. That was an unforgettable moment for me; that moment I was the happiest person. I was on top of the world!”
Today Preethu is dependent on a medicine called “Risdiplam”, which is available to improve the condition of this disorder. As of June 2021, it costs around Rs. 60 Lakhs and has to continue for 10 years for best results. This is a huge amount as anyone can even imagine.
But Preethu is optimistic: “Little hopes make the mighty ocean.” She’d put up campaigns calling out for help, and she believes with the kind-heartedness of many helping souls, she can build the corpus to raise funds for the treatment.
Accept the way you are. There will be a lot of people who will discourage you, but don’t let them stop you from dreaming.
We cannot put a price on a person’s life, but Preethu knows how much it costs to sustain her life, where she needs the support of a lot of people. Preethu was a sensitive girl who used to get uncomfortable at people’s staring, sympathy, and questions. But today she has outgrown all that.
Today, she smiles at people who are staring at her instead of running away from them. Preethu shares her piece of advice for everyone: “Accept the way you are. There will be a lot of people who will discourage you, but don’t let them stop you from dreaming. We should understand our strengths and weaknesses and try to find an alternative to those weaknesses!”
HerMoneyTalks extends its warm support to Preethu and prays that all her wishes and endeavors to lead a normal life are fulfilled.
Support Preethu: Those who wish to support her cause can visit her on ImpactGuru.
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