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Priyanka: The Road to Hope

Vijay arises early, before the sun is up, and gently wakes his daughter Priyanka. She looks into his eyes and knows that the journey they’ve spent so long discussing is about to begin.

It is the peak of winter in the Himalayas and Vijay watched with concern, the night before, as the snow began to fall outside their home. “I hope the roads are clear to travel,” he thinks. Even if they are not, he knows he is willing to take the risk.

It’s been 10 years since Priyanka’s accident, but he still remembers the day he and his wife left to harvest the fields and returned to find Priyanka injured on the floor after a household cleaner containing acid spilled all over her head and chest. He tries to shake off his grief and guilt as he makes his way out the door with his daughter.

After some time on the road, Vijay’s fear becomes a reality. The roads have been covered in snow, making it impossible for the bus they were scheduled to take to reach them. Vijay looks down at Priyanka and she understands what this means. They won’t be able to reach Dehradun; she won’t be able to receive treatment.

Overwhelmed with this realization, Vijay takes his daughter in his arms, carries her, and walks three miles through the snow determined to get his daughter help.

Thanks to Vijay’s heroic effort, he and Priyanka arrive at the hospital and, despite their long journey, wait patiently for ReSurge doctors to see them. Because of Priyanka’s burn injuries, she is unable to move her neck or close her eyelids fully.

Following her surgery, Priyanka’s neck movement is restored and her eyesight is saved from further deterioration. As Priyanka recovers from surgery, Vijay sits by her side and watches her sleep, just like the morning when they began their journey. This time, things are different.

“After Priyanka’s surgery, I started to truly believe, for the first time, that my daughter was going to be OK,” says Vijay.

ReSurge has treated Priyanka since 2006 and continues to do so. Every year, when ReSurge arrives in Dehradun, India, so do Vijay and Priyanka—ready to further her treatment and welcome the team.

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Severe burns remain a neglected health crisis in developing countries, particularly among poor women and children. Learn more about the staggering scope and solutions.