Today, we are in conversation with “The Wishing Factory“.
Lockdown Voices [LV]: The Wishing Factory has been doing commendable work for supporting thalassemia patients. But why the name “The Wishing Factory”?
The Wishing Factory [TWF]: In 2015, at the tender age of 20, Partth single handedly founded The Wishing Factory, a non-proﬁt organisation with the motto “enriching lives, bringing smiles” to the warrior’s lives by fulfilling their wishes. To date, the organisation has managed to fund experiences and events, which allowed the warriors and their families to do just that – enjoy brighter moments, have their wishes fulfilled and beneﬁt with treatment options not previously available to many.
LV: Indeed, Partth’s initiative is unique. But why do you refer to thalassemia patients as warriors?
TWF: We call our thalassemia-major patients, warriors. Why “warriors”? Because of the will and strength that they must have, to go through everything that life has destined for them. The thalassemia major warriors are fighting a blood disorder, that if not dealt with through professional medical help, can reduce life expectancy, impact physical growth and create bone deformities. Furthermore, they need blood transfusions every 2-4 weeks to slow down these deadly effects.
LV: How does The Wishing Factory help warriors get appropriate treatment and medical intervention ?
TWF: In the last five years, Partth and his team established across India, 6 Thalassemia Wellness Centers and 4 Blood Transfusion Centers that cater to free medical services and life-saving medicines. Today, the main purpose of The Wishing Factory is to provide the best healthcare to all thalassemia major warriors. We intend to set up two Blood Transfusion Centers every year in new cities thereby expanding good quality and free healthcare that the community needs the most. These Blood Transfusion Centers are equipped with the best of the healthcare amenities that is needed during the blood transfusion process. We have adopted 200+ warriors all over India to support them with their monthly blood transfusions.
Our Thalassemia Wellness Centers cater to the medical requirements of the warriors such as oral chelators, blood filters, and other medicinal needs. The centers are also equipped with state-of-art facilities that can support patients during their iron chelation therapy (removal of excess iron from their bodies). The idea is to create an environment that is a friendly and happy place with recreational as well as medical facilities. We have adopted 750+ warriors all over India and support them with their iron chelation therapy. We also have syringe pump libraries. A syringe pump is a medical device that is used for iron chelation therapy.
LV: A huge achievement in such a short span! Any other area that you specifically focus on?
TWF: The Wishing Factory creates awareness to achieve its ultimate motive – eradication of thalassemia. It sensitises people on the causes of thalassemia, how it can be prevented as well as the importance of blood donation. In the past, events, campaigns, youth-led fests, exhibitions, and blood donation drives have been organised. Partth was able to engage the attention of Bollywood superstars for a media campaign which went on to get international recognition.
LV: What has been the impact of lockdown on thalassemia patients?
TWF: A number of thalassemia major warriors and families were affected because of the lockdown and the ongoing economic crisis. There was, and still is a severe shortage of blood. It is extremely stressful for the warriors and their families to arrange blood for the transfusions. There are delays in transfusion. This severely affects the haemoglobin level in the warrior’s blood and their overall health. During lockdown, with the suspension of transportation, the iron chelators were not available for majority of the warriors. This became a big health risk as they could not maintain their body iron levels in control.
LV: The situation must have been really grim. How did The Wishing Factory address these lockdown challenges?
TWF: With COVID-19 on the rise, many hospitals – both private and government stopped admitting thalassemia warriors for their regular blood transfusions. While maintaining social distancing and other safety protocols, The Wishing Factory provided these warriors blood transfusions free of cost in a fully sanitised environment.
Also many earning members within the warrior families had lost their jobs. While some received reduced wages, others were deprived of even minimum wages. As majority of our warriors belong to the underprivileged sections many were not able to buy their monthly rations. The Wishing Factory reached out and helped as many families as we could. So far, we have been able to support more than 250 families across the remotest locations of the country. Having been able to support all these warriors and their families during these tough times gives us immense satisfaction.
LV: Tell us about the popular #UltaHokeThalassemiaRoke campaign during the lockdown?
TWF: On 8th May 2020, World Thalassemia Day, The Wishing Factory launched the #UltaHokeThalassemiaRoke challenge to raise funds for thalassemia major patients who had lost their savings during the lockdown and could not afford their next transfusion. While the blood bags are provided free, warriors still need up to rupees 5000 each month for other crucial expenses. With the funds raised by the campaign, we were able to support warriors in all fronts of their lives, such as their blood transfusions, iron chelators, medical support, ration, bone marrow transplants, educational scholarships and so on. The campaign continues to support 23 warriors currently.
Siriti, our creative agency partner created this campaign for us. The concept of the campaign had its basis in blood transfusions where blood bags are turned ‘ulta’ or inverted to help Thalassemia Major patients stay alive.
The campaign reached almost 67 million through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The campaign featured in a lot of local as well as national newspapers such as Divya Bhaskar, Times of India, Daily News Analysis (DNA), Economic Times and many more.
Within a few hours of the launch, more than 60 celebrities like Kunal Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Farah Khan Kunder, Riteish Deshmukh, Deanne Pandey, Huma Qureshi, Saqib Saleem posted their inverted photographs. Platforms like Terribly Tiny Tales and many other well-wishers participated in the challenge and helped us champion this cause.
LV: Besides monetary donation, how else can our readers help your cause?
TWF: Since there is an extreme shortage of blood, if the readers are eligible for blood donation, they can donate blood every 3 months. Each donation can save up to 3 lives. They can also spread the word amongst their social groups, families and friends about the importance of blood donation. They can reach out to us and in collaboration we can conduct blood donation camps in/near their locality.
The readers can also get in touch with us and help us spread awareness about thalassemia, haemoglobin electrophoresis, how can thalassemia be prevented and what needs to be done if they come across any thalassemia major case? They can also connect us to corporates, schools, groups, wherein we can conduct these awareness sessions.
The readers can adopt or connect us to the potential donors who can adopt our warriors and support them with their regular iron chelators and blood transfusions.
They can also become a part of The Wishing Factory by volunteering with us. With the pandemic, most activities are taking place online. To keep our warriors engaged and stress-free, we have been conducting workshops, seminars and live sessions on mental health, art and craft, personality development, etc. The readers can conduct these based on their fields of expertise. Our website and monthly newsletter gives updates on all upcoming events, support needed, workshops, etc.
LV: Thank you. Our best wishes to The Wishing Factory in all its future endeavours.
“It is better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a big life spent in a miserable way.” – a thought that Partth Thakur strongly believed in and practised.
Partth was born on June 8th, 1995 and was diagnosed with thalassemia major when he was 2 months old. He used to take blood every 15 days from 3 individuals to sustain himself.
Thalassemia never really stopped him from doing the things that he genuinely wanted to. Instead it motivated him to have a good life, not only for himself but for other thalassemia warriors as well. Growing up, he was a very enthusiastic kid. He was 14 when he went on his first trek to Manali, Dalhousie, Shimla. By the time he was 16, ANALA, the company that he used to do treks with offered him a job to take children from primary and secondary schools to different trips. This adventurous soul did his very first solo trip to Bali when he was 20. Scuba Diving being one of his favourite adventurous sports, he did his dives in Indonesia, Jakarta, and Thailand.
In 2015, he lost his dog Brandy to a sudden death. Following the tragedy, he discovered the true meaning of his motto “enriching lives, bringing smiles” after which he started The Wishing Factory.
Partth always voiced, “We must keep trying, so that there comes a day when there is no child born with thalassaemia in India”
Cover image: The Wishing Factory
Story images: The Wishing Factory
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