AS Warriors

Fundraising Appeal for Bijoy



Bijoy Bhowmick, Kalkata, India

Tucked away in a tiny room that he shares with his brother, under an asbestos roof in the stifling heat and humidity of Kalkata, India, lays a mattress on the floor where Bijoy Bhowmick has laid in chronic pain for five years.

Bijoy has been bedridden from the age of 25, as a consequence of the debilitating effects of ankylosing spondylitis, and is in desperate need of knee and hip replacements if he is to ever walk again.

Ankylosing spondylitis is an aggressive form of arthritis characterised by inflammation of the hips, spine and peripheral joints, accompanied by chronic pain and immobility.

In the worst cases of ankylosing spondylitis, calcium deposits form in the joints permanently fusing them, and so it is in Bijoy’s case who’s hips and knees have all fused, effectively rendering him stiff and immobile from the waist down.

To make matters worse, while lying in an incapacitated state on a mattress on the floor, he is inflicted with chronic pain that can only be described as torturous, in every joint from his head down to his toes, day after day night after night.

Worse still on top of the chronic physical pain and immobility that Bijoy must relentlessly endure, the emotional pain and mental anguish pains him just as much.

As is common for people living with ankylosing spondylitis, Bijoy is experiencing anxiety and depression as a consequence of his dire circumstances, and sadder still he is plagued with guilt because he feels he is a burden to his family, when he would love nothing more than to be able to work and support them instead.

In any developed country Bijoy would have surely had his hips and knees replaced a long time ago, and he would now be living a relatively normal and productive, pain free life.

However in India these much needed operations come at a price that is simply not affordable for all but the most wealthy people, of which Bijoy and his family are surely not.

Despite every effort to support and care for Bijoy, his family struggles simply to afford the most basic necessities of life, much less the medicine he needs each day, and never in their wildest dreams could they afford the money needed for the operation.

The quotes from various surgeons have ranged in price from US$25000 to U$45000, and for that reason this fundraising appeal aims to raise a minimum of US$25000.

And if raising US$25000 isn’t challenging enough, Bijoy’s doctors have warned that time is fast running out, as irreparable damage may be done to the surrounding bones and muscles, rendering the operation impossible if it is not done soon.

Thus there is some urgency to this fundraising appeal to ensure that Bijoy may be able to have his hips and knees replaced, and be saved from a life of chronic pain and immobility confined to a bed for life.

Appreciating the dire situation Bijoy is in and the urgency with which the operations must be done, the ankylosing spondylitis community is rallying around this AS Warrior, and all that are willing and able to contribute to this fundraising appeal are kindly asked to donate what little you can here (Help Bijoy Fight Ankylosing Spondylitis and Walk Again).

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Tieran Brownlee
Tieran is a counsellor and freelance journalist. His qualifications and training include a Masters of Counselling from the University of New England and a Masters of Journalism from Bond University. He has eight years experience as a counsellor at Lifeline and extensive training in crisis support and suicide prevention. He now works in private practice, almost exclusively with people living with chronic physical illnesses and runs a support group for AS Warriors.


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