Community steps in to fund emergency treatment of fellow migrant’s mum

Facebook group responds quickly to help Granville engineer Vikramjeet Singh raise money. TARINI PURI reports

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Vikramjeet Singh.Indian Link
Vikramjeet Singh with mum Paramjit Kaur

Help has started pouring in for Sydney engineer Vikramjeet Singh within hours of his appeal for crowdfunding his ailing mother’s treatment.

Vikramjeet, a resident of Granville, is raising money to pay for hospital charges and medical expenses he is continuing to incur for treating his mother Paramjit Kaur who is in the Intensive Care Unit at Westmead Hospital. She is undergoing treatment for acute pneumonia, which she contracted during her time here due to the presence of the CMV virus in the air.

Her immune system, weakened with age and the use of other medicines, could not fight the onslaught, and it left her ill and gasping for breath earlier this month.

After more than three weeks in the hospital, and still no hope of a discharge soon, Vikramjeet, who migrated to Australia in the winter of 2016, has now turned to social media groups like ‘Indians in Sydney’ on Facebook to seek financial help.

The response there has been instantaneous – with hundreds of the 27,000-odd members of the group offering him everything from money to legal and medical advice. The most common sentiment in the group was the one posted by a member which read, “Anything for all beautiful mothers around the world. Let me know where to drop off (the money)”.

Another one posted, “I’ll contribute $50. Let’s get him out of trouble, fellows.”

Many group members have also given him leads to other avenues that he can explore to raise the necessary funds.

Vikramjeet told Indian Link that he had raised $4,000 until the evening of 29 November, just about 12 hours after he had posted an appeal on the Facebook group. He also set up a GoFundMe page and has received over $2,500 in donations so far. Vikramjeet, the sole earning member of the family, hopes to raise $250,000.

Want to help Vikramjeet Singh? His bank details are Account number: 11311483 BSB code: 062223. Bank name: Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Elaborating on the response evoked by Vikramjeet’s Facebook post, Nadeem Ahmed, the group’s administrator said, “This group was formed almost a decade ago to help people. Over the years, we have all benefitted from each other in finding jobs, in education and migration queries. For Vikramjeet, some of our group members even called up the hospital to confirm the authenticity, and we wish him every help that he can get,” he said.

Paramjit Kaur.Indian Link
Vikramjeet Singh’s mum Paramjit Kaur is suffering from CMV Pneumonia

Aditi Upadhyay, one of the moderators on the group, added, “Charity posts are very rare in our group, which is probably why this post has received a flood of responses in such a short time. Besides, health of visiting parents is a sensitive issue for all of us, and there is a lesson in this for everyone.”

With help of the money raised so far, a grateful Vikramjeet has already managed to pay off one chunk of the hospital charges as of Wednesday afternoon.

Describing his financial difficulties, Vikramjeet said, “I have no idea how much more money I am going to require, or how I am going to manage to pay it off. With hardly any improvement in her condition, we don’t even know how long this treatment is going to continue. My mother had taken out travel insurance policy before she came here, but the provider has so far not released any funds and is not even clarifying how much it will bear. Anyway, the policy is lapsing on December 1, so I will have to bear everything in my own beyond that time. Apart from the huge medical and doctor charges, we are incurring a daily expense of $5,600 as ICU charges.”

Vikramjeet’s mother, who came to the city on a visitor visa in September this year, became unwell on November 4, less than a month before she was to fly back home to Chandigarh in north India.

Recalling how the misery started, Vikramjeet revealed, “It was on the day of Guru Purab (November 4) when we had gone to the Gurudwara for prayers and langar. On returning, my mother started complaining of stomach ache and acidity. I took her to the medical centre in my area, and the GP there gave her medicine based on the symptoms that she reported. Her condition improved slightly that day, but soon she started complaining of breathlessness,” he says.

With no improvement over the next couple of days, running a fever and severely out of breath, Vikramjeet’s mother Paramjit Kaur was rushed to Westmead Hospital on 7 November where the doctors immediately took her in, as her lungs were not functioning properly.

Describing her present condition, Vikramjeet said, “I don’t know how long we can continue her stay there, as doctors are saying there is always a risk in keeping a patient in the intensive care unit for too long.”

A few members of the ‘Indians in Sydney’ group have also visited the mother-son duo in hospital.

Expressing his gratitude for the help, Vikramjeet said, “The response has been encouraging. People are contributing big and small amounts and I am thankful. Some have even visited my mother in hospital. I have yet to figure out how I am going to explain this inflow of money for my tax-filing, but right now the focus is on paying off the bills,” he said.

 

 

About CMV Pneumonia

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by a member of a group of herpes-type viruses. Infection with CMV is very common. Most people are exposed to CMV in their lifetime but typically only those with a weakened immune system become ill from its infection.

Source: US National Library of Medicine