When my grandmother died, I didn’t cry. I was sad, but she had lived a long life and I believed she was ready to pass. I never knew Laxman, but when he died, I cried.
Laxman was a 17-year-old boy from Nepal. His dad died from Kidney failure, and despite being a single parent, his mom took good care of him and his two brothers. Laxman was in the 8th grade and he couldn’t decide between being a policeman or a teacher when he grew up.
I know all of this about Laxman because his story was one of the first to arrive in our inbox as the word about Watsi started to spread. Laxman had rheumatic heart disease, a potentially fatal condition of the heart that results from an untreated strep throat infection. Rheumatic heart disease is treatable, and in Laxman’s case, treatment would have cost $1,000.
Today, I found out that Laxman died. I have no doubt in my mind that Watsi would have been able to raise the $1,000 he needed for treatment, but we just weren’t ready.
Laxman taught me that hope and sadness aren’t mutually exclusive. A 17-year-old boy should never die because his family can’t afford a $1,000 medical treatment. It’s wrong. But Laxman reminded me of something I forgot somewhere amidst the grant applications and financial spreadsheets. What Watsi is attempting to do is real, it’s serious, and it matters. I truly believe Watsi can change the game, and that gives me hope.
When I got home from work today, I sat down in my desk chair, cracked a beer, and let out a big sigh. I think Watsi is about to do some big things, but it sure isn’t going to be easy.