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Category Archives: Prayer

No Limits!

DR_SK%20Dikshit
Doctor Sharadkumar Dixit
Picture credit:  Kindly allowed by Som

 

There have been few stories or postings or persons,  that I have written about in my life, that brought me to tears as I wrote them, this one did!

As some/many of you may already know,  my son is a paraplegic, so the life and struggles of this brave, stubborn, willful man, struck close to my heart.

One thing that they both have/had in common is/was that they refused to let life in a wheelchair hold them back, or limit the fullest potential of their lives.

They both did precisely what they were driven to do.

What this Plastic Surgeon, this Doctor to the most poor of India and even the world,  chose to do with his life after a horrific car accident left him paralyzed, a heart that was less than 20% functional, barely surviving cancer of the larynx, that left him unable to speak and the continuing threat of an imminent cerebral hemorrhage, in my humble opinion, suggests nothing less than the mark of a Saint.

Doctor Sharadkumar Dixit, or Dicksheet, was nominated eight times for the Nobel Peace Prize, but never won.

However, along his lifelong Humanitarian Journey,  he did collect a massive, most impressive list of other awards and accolades for his unselfish devotion to those with nothing to offer him, but their deepest gratitude.

The Doctor returned to India every year for six months,  to hold free plastic surgery camps, for those with cleft lips, or cleft palates in dire need of repairing, to throngs of hopeful waiting crowds that would impress even a Rock Star.

In over forty years, this amazing Doctor performed more than 300,000 surgeries from the confines of his wheelchair and was called, ” the fastest plastic surgeon in the world.”

He lived quite meagerly in a tiny Brooklyn apartment and survived mostly on social security.

Doctor Dixit was born Dec 13, 1930 in Chandarpur, Maharashra, India and died in Flushing, New York, November 14, 2011.

As to be expected, this diligent, devoted Man of Medicine, was considered a God in India, to those whose lives he changed forever.

He gave them back their smiles.

As you can see, this remarkable man’s life knew NO LIMITS!

 

Places to learn more:

A video tribute to Dr. Dixit

When the Scalpel calls

Magical Fingers at work for the disabled

A cut above the rest

Farewell to a hero – Dr. Sharadkumar Dicksheet

Doctor who was Saint of Smiles

Plastic surgeon, Nobel Prize nominee Sharadkumar Dicksheet, MD, dies at 80

 

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Father Damien, the Apostle of the Lepers

FatherDamien1873
Father Damien in 1873 arriving in Oahu.
Picture credit: Wikipedia

 

If you ever have the chance to see the film about this man, it is an astonishing work:

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien.

So many biographies tend to be dull, or appear to be grasping for drama.

This man’s life did not need any more drama, it was filled to the brim with it as soon as he arrived in Molokai

I am not sure how many of us ever could, or would, have had the courage to do what he did.

I was a treatment Nurse in a Rehab Center for four years and was surrounded daily by those that society and the state of California considered to be wretched souls.

Many there were merely being housed in a state facility,  that kept them medicated just enough to be safe for the staff to work with, or somewhat controllable.

Some times however, they were not.

I ended up in the local ER three times,  as proof of this.

The third time was the end for my husband,  who said, ” you’re all done there, and you’re not going back.”

I wanted to stay,  knowing how much needed to be done there, but sadly, finally agreed to leave, knowing that he was right.

But back to the facts about Father Damien, who was said to be the inspiration for Gandhi in his struggle to make India and her people independent from England.

Jozef De Veuster was born on January 3, 1840 in Tremelo, Belgium.

He arrived in Hawaii on March 19, 1864 and began a journey of such love and courage,  that the world and its opinion of the disease he eventually succumbed to,  would be changed forever.

Disease was inflicted on the innocent people of the Hawaiian Islands,  by those who came to do business with them, mostly, sailors and traders.

By 1865,  health conditions on the Islands had reached such a crisis level,  that a law was passed to isolate those with what was considered to be the worst and fatal, Leprosy,  to Molokai in a Leper Colony and kept under strict quarantine.

When Father Damien began his work on Molokai, May 10, 1873,  it was assumed to be a death sentence.

Hawaii’s Bishop called for volunteers for this mission and Father Damien was the first to step up.

It was planned that three others would follow him.

The Island of Molokai was for those sad souls who ended up there,  a place of misery and death.

But, Father Damien came and brought with him the changes that would give those afflicted, hope.

Hawaiian people are normally quite happy, loving and affectionate.

Those who ended up on Molokai, were nothing at all like their relatives on the other Islands.

The dedication, devotion, love and passion of Father Damien made those on Molokai  believe that they could do something for themselves, and because of him, many of them for the first time,  found peace.

But their peace came at a high price for Damien, who after 16 years of selfless service to these terribly sick people, finally contracted the disease that would end his life.

Father Damien continued while he was sick,  fighting with all of those on Oahu,  to do what was humane, decent and right for the afflicted people of Molokai.

Before his death on April 15, 1889 at the young age of 49, he had fought against the tyrannical Catholic dioceses and those who controlled Hawaii, who did little to help him or them and forced them to change.

His body at the request of King Leopold III, was returned to Belgium to his place of birth, in January of 1936.

In 1995, his right  hand was given back to the Hawaiian people to be buried in his grave on Molokai.

Long after his death,  Father Damien was finally made a Saint in 2009.

Never has there been one who was more deserving of this,  than Father Damien, the Apostle of the Lepers.

 

Places to learn more:

Father Damien (Joseph de Veuster)

NPS Hawaii – Father Damien

Father Damien  –  Wikipedia

Father Damien

Father Damien

 

 

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