Goel Family

Goel Family

"You should be ashamed to be sitting here!" Vipul Goyal did not utter a word. The Indian Oil officials were indignant that he had applied for a gas agency in the handicapped category. And it looked like the interview had ended even before it had begun, for the officials were not about to hand over Solan.

Three of the six children of Kusum, 63, and Nagarmal Goyal, 65, are afflicted with limb girdle muscular dystrophy (MD) - a disease that starts by weakening the muscles. Over time, MD renders movement progressively difficult, till it becomes virtually impossible. It struck the three Goyal siblings Vipul, Atul and Sanjana - now 40, 38 and 33, respectively - in their early teens. Mercifully, the other three, Devna, Archana, and Anurag - now 35, 34 and 28, respectively - are able-bodied. A genetically transmitted disorder, muscular dystrophy has no known cure.

The disease meant a struggle over even mundane chores, and a daily fight to keep the home fires burning.

It takes courage and an iron will to combat the disease. The Goyals had it. And, from a family struggling to make ends meet out of the modest earnings of a small hardware shop, the Goyals have swung their fortunes around. Today, they count among the elite of this hill station in Himachal Pradesh. The family has a posh double-storied house, two cars and three flourishing businesses.

The disease strikes three. It wasn't always so for the Goyal family. "I remember running. Running like mad ahead of all the boys. Running down the hill after school," recalls Atul. Vipul and Atul would rush through homework to join the rowdy bunch of children at play. They were all between eight and 10. Cricket, badminton, pitthoo, gullidanda, hopscotch were the favourites. And aiming stones at windowpanes. Play over, the brothers would rush to the family shop to help their father.

Unnoticed, the disease crept into the happy household. Vipul fell off the roof and was in bed for six months. when he recovered, the weakness in his legs and his strange gait were seen as the after-effects of the fall. He was 15. At about the same time, Atul recovering from typhoid felt the same weakness in his legs. "I was late for school

 

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National Award to Sanjana Goel

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