Mahendra’s became the first case in India to treat such a deformity.
Published on October 15th, 2016
A schoolboy who lived with his head hanging to one side is finally able to see the world ‘straight’ after life-changing surgery. Mahendra Ahirwar, 13, has a rare condition that made his neck muscles so weak his head hung at a 180-degree angle. His crocked neck meant Mahendra was restricted to just sitting as he was unable to stand or walk and needed help to eat and go to the toilet.
Born with congenital myopathy, a condition that caused his head and neck to hang sideways, Mahendra’s life has been transformed thanks to a stranger, mother-of-two Julie Jones living 4,000 miles away in Liverpool who read his story and raised £12,000 for an operation to straighten his neck. All thanks to a spinal surgeon in Apollo Hospital, New Delhi.
Crocked: Schoolboy Mahendra Ahirwar (pictured) has a rare condition which made his neck muscles so weak that his head hung to one side and he saw the world at a 180-degree angle
But thanks to life-changing surgery, Mahendra, 13, above, can now finally see the world the right way up after he had an operation to straighten his neck
Before the operation Mahendra, pictured, was unable to go to school. He was restricted to sitting as he was unable to stand or walk and needed help to eat and go to the toilet.
Prior to surgery, his mother Sumitra, 36, said: ‘I can’t see Mahendra suffer anymore. Watching his life is devastating. He cannot do anything by himself.’ She added: ‘He just sits in a corner of the room all day. It’s no life. I have to carry him like a baby everywhere.’
Before surgery Mahendra needed his mum to feed, bathe and dress him. His younger siblings Surendra, 11, and 14-year-old Manisha, both went to school. And his older brother Lalit, 17, tried to find work. Meanwhile he was left at home. Even his friends used to ignore him
But his fortunes were changed when a mother-of-two living 4,000 miles away in the UK read about his plight and launched a crowd funding page to raise £12,000 for his surgery
In the first surgery of its kind, Dr Krishnan, who spent 15 years working for the NHS in the UK, had to operate on Mahendra’s spine by opening up the front part of his neck. In theatre, the front of his cervical spine was left completely exposed because of his extraordinarily thin skin
Saviour: Julie, above, a secondary school careers coordinator, said: ‘It was tragic to see Mahendra’s pictures. All I could think of was my son and how I’d feel if he was in that situation.’
In February Mahendra spent a fortnight in Apollo hospital before being allowed to go home to recover in the hope his neck would not bend again. Pictured: With Dr Rajagopalan Krishnan
Now, seven months on, his neck is still straight and Mahendra’s future is looking much brighter. Pictured: The schooboy in hospital with Julie, who raised £12,000 for his operation
Recovery: Mahendra’s family are overjoyed that the teenager can finally go to school. His father Mukesh (back far right) told MailOnline: ‘I can finally say we are a happy family now. Happiness has found our address after Mahendra’s surgery. I feel so blessed.’