He is 51 years old and runs an institute for bed-ridden patients and aged persons suffering from physical ailments. His institute provides quality service and boasts of some high profile customers. But that is not what makes Sunil Desai stand apart. Not many would believe that Desai cannot move any part of his body accept his neck and is bed-ridden for last 16 years.
He suffered a near-fatal accident at the age of 34 when the luxury bus he was travelling in met with an accident on Limdi-Bagodra highway near Rajkot in 1994. His nervous system and spinal cord suffered major damages. He is suffering from quadriplegia which is an incurable ailment. But that didn’t deter this former area manager of a television company from living the life he wanted to. “I am on this bed for last 16 years and haven’t moved an inch without support. During this ordeal I realised how much difficult it was to find good caretakers who can provide services round the clock,” said Desai who stays with his wife and father in Karelibaug.
“So, about five years ago I decided to start an institute that would provide caretakers for a nominal fee to old people and patients who are bed-ridden. My institute also provides services like massage, physical exercises and medical appliances on rent. We also arrange for ambulance services,” Desai added while attending phone calls from people inquiring about his institute. An earplug connected to mobile phone helps Desai in receiving calls. “One of my clients was former mayor Thakorebhai Patel,” Desai said.
And, one would be surprised to know that Desai meets each of his clients on a specially-designed battery-operated wheelchair every other day. “I got this chair from UK and then made some changes in it. I operate the chair on my own and move around in the city every evening. I buy vegetables for my family, meet my friends and also call up senior police officials if I see traffic police missing from crossroads during my trip,” laughed Desai.
“We had lost all hopes after the doctors told us that he wouldn’t survive for long after the accident. But my husband showed tremendous will power and positivity that instilled confidence in me. He never makes anyone feel that he is helpless. I am proud of him,” said Desai’s wife Darshana. Desai, whose family spent nearly Rs 15 lakh on his treatment, got both his daughters married and also designed the second and third floor of his house from his bed.